Peter O’Mahony on Johnny Sexton selection: ‘I’m far from a doctor but he was in good shape’


Ireland head coach Andy Farrell believes the players who underperformed in last weekend’s first Test defeat deserve a chance to put things right in Dunedin on Saturday night.

Arrell has resisted mixing up his starting team, with Mack Hansen being the only change in the XV for Keith Earls.

The Ireland boss is hoping for a big response from his side as they look to salvage the series and take them to a crucial third Test next week.

“There are all sorts of different considerations that go into selection,” Farrell explained.

“Sometimes players probably haven’t reached the standards by which they judge themselves. Not giving people an opportunity to correct that is sometimes missing an opportunity.

“Well, there’s a little bit of that. Some people are unlucky not to start because they made a good impression from the bench.

“They understand that too and to agree with all of that the lads going into Tuesday night have an opportunity to raise their hand for selection for the third Test. It’s our first goal.

“We’ve had a turbulent week, as everyone knows. This has been a fairly easy week so a lot of guys get a chance to go again.”

Johnny Sexton will join the Ireland team after the captain passed his HIA protocols earlier this week.

Peter O’Mahony took over as captain when Sexton was dropped off at Eden Park but the Munster skipper is relieved to have Sexton back on board.

“There’s no secret Johnny is one of the top 10s in the world, one of the top players in the world, so you want to be dealing with a full deck,” O’Mahony said.

“We want to play as healthy as possible and there’s nobody you can say you can afford to miss three games in nine or ten days. He is enormously important for us, of course our captain.

“I’m far from a doctor, but he was in good shape.”

Saturday’s game in Dunedin will be played under one roof, which should make for high-paced competition as Farrell looks to draw on his previous experience visiting Forsyth Barr Stadium.

“We all know it suits the All Blacks,” he said.

“Every game I saw at the stadium was fantastic. When we’ve been there in the past I’ve trained there a few times now and it’s always been quick.

“It’s not the biggest stadium but the atmosphere there is electric because of the roof etc. I expect more of what we’ve seen at Super Rugby and if the All Blacks have played the Lions or any other international side there in the past. The ball will be fast, I’m sure of that.

“You talk about the fast lane, but you put (Scott) Barrett in the second row and it gets a little faster. You could pick four sides and they could all compete against each other.”

Farrell would like his side to clean up the sloppy mistakes that gave the All Blacks easy access to the game last time out, but he believes they’re in a good position to do so after a solid week of training.

“It’s pretty important,” he added.

“To be honest the lads are in a good place now, on Thursday before a friendly, you’d expect that, but earlier in the week a bit of doubt creeps in when you don’t know the answers – but they do Answers.

“They know the access they have given the All Blacks and they understand you cannot do that because they know firsthand they will stand behind your own posts. There are a few things to fix, like every week.” Peter O’Mahony on Johnny Sexton selection: ‘I’m far from a doctor but he was in good shape’

Fry Electronics Team

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