Ireland Boss Joe Schmidt – “He Has Been A Bit Of A ‘Big Moments’ Player For Us”

Big game player.

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt reckons Peter O’Mahony could once again play a huge role for his side this weekend as they get set to take on New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.

O’Mahony has so far failed to live up to his high standards, but the Munster captain has proved time and time again – when he’s needed, he will be there. His incredible comeback game against England and the role he played in defeating the All Blacks in Dublin last year are just two games that come to mind.

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Had O’Mahony not been on the pitch that day against the All Blacks, there’s absolutely no way Ireland would have won. Three of the biggest moments in that game came from O’Mahony, with the blindside securing two massive turnovers and saving a try late one.

“He brings leadership and experience,” Joe Schmidt said today.

“He’s a very effective lineout operator for us. Part of it is the structure and the way he that ends up across the width of the pitch. He tends to be playing in the wider channels and therefore he’s not as involved as some of the players who are closer in.

“Statistics always tell part of the story, but they don’t tell the complete picture. There are things that he can add for us that we think could be really important. Obviously in the line-out, he saved our bacon the last time we played New Zealand with an exceptional turn and chase and the long arms that he reached out just to pluck the ball in front of Ben Smith to avoid Smith scoring for certain.

“I think he won two balls on the ground in that game as well that were really important. He has been a bit of a ‘big moments’ player for us. Maybe not as many moments, but the big moments, they count.”