Eight English players have been named in the predicted Lions team for the First Test.
Peter O’Mahony was a true leader for the British & Irish Lions.
The Munster and Ireland back-row had a strong game for the second Saturday running as the Lions showed that they can perform like Trojans when it comes to the crunch, and they get their best XV on the pitch.
It is clear to everyone watching now that the best Lions team is one that has O’Mahony at blindside and, if needs be, captaining.
The Irishman looked every inch the Lions captain and he had commentators, supporters [Lions and Kiwi] and former players raving about the impact he has had on the squad.
Tour captain Sam Warburton replaced O’Mahony with 15 minutes to go but only after he had picked up a knee knock and needed treatment. That he did not move Sean O’Brien to blindside and get the final stages at openside would suggest Warren Gatland may have seen the light too.
Following the Lions’ 32-10 victory over the Maori All Blacks, Lions legend Ian McGeechan picked his team to start the First Test, next Saturday, and O’Mahony was in it.
The former Lions player and three-time head coach told Sky Sports:
“I’d go Sean O’Brien at openside but you talk about big decisions, this [blindside] is one Gatland will have to make.
“O’Mahony would be my captain.”
Having previously predicted Warburton to overcome fitness doubts to lead the Lions, this was a major statement from the Scot.
Former Ireland and Lions blindside Stephen Ferris was in studio with McGeechan and agreed that O’Mahony is the clear choice, especially if Alun Wyn Jones does not start the First Test. Ferris and McGeechan then agreed that this was the Test team they believe will start in Auckland next week:
Ferris and McGeechan then agreed that this was the Test team they believe will start in Auckland next week: