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'I was p****d off': O'Mahony on calling out 'scumbag' Lavanini

By Liam Heagney
Dublin , Ireland - 21 November 2021; Peter (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Ireland back row Peter O’Mahony has spoken about his furious on-pitch reaction to the reckless tackle that resulted in Argentina lock Tomas Lavanini getting red carded in Dublin with 20 minutes remaining in Sunday’s Autumn Nations Series match. Andy Farrell’s team recorded a comfortable 53-7, seven-tries-to-one win at the Aviva Stadium, but a sour taste was left in the mouth due to the needless breakdown assault that took place on Irish replacement Cian Healy.

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O’Mahony, who was also contesting the breakdown, was livid with what he had seen and he immediately accused the Pumas player of “scumbag stuff”, a remark that was audible via the reflink that media and fans were tuned into at the stadium as the situation unfolded. 

Before he reviewed the incident with his TMO, referee Matthew Carley had to take O’Mahony aside and reprimand him for his language, that he needed to be better given that he was now captaining Ireland after James Ryan had groggily exited the action shortly before half-time. 

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After reviewing the footage, Carley gave Lavanini his marching orders and Ireland went on to reap reward, scoring 19 unanswered points in the closing stages to see out their win. Post-game, O’Mahony was asked to revisit his fiery reaction and to explain exactly why he had reacted like that. 

“It is heat of the moment stuff,” said the 2017 first Test Lions skipper, who started 2021 knowing what it was like to take the long, lonely walk to the sideline as he was red-carded in Ireland’s Six Nations defeat to Wales. “I have been on the other side of that to be fair. It’s split-second decision-making from his [Lavanini’s] point of view. There’s enough to be said. I have been on the other side of it.”

The subject didn’t rest there, though, as it was revisited later in the media briefing with another question. “I have spoken already. These things happen. It is split-second stuff from him. He is trying to clear someone out but he has got it wrong from what I thought at the time and you are trying to look after your buddies and the last thing you want to see is them injured. 

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“From his point of view, it is tough. It is literally fractions of seconds. At the time I was p****d off but I have been on the other side of it. You are talking about hundredths of seconds where pictures change and it’s a red card. The disappointment of getting a red card for your country is nothing that people can experience, so I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.” 

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