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Peter O’Mahony backs ‘professional’ Jamie Osborne to do well on debut

By PA
Dublin , Ireland - 8 June 2024; Jamie Osborne of Leinster during the United Rugby Championship quarter-final match between Leinster and Ulster at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony feels it was only a matter of time before Jamie Osborne was handed his senior debut, which will come in the first Test against South Africa in Pretoria on Saturday.

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With Hugo Keenan preparing for the Olympic Sevens in Paris later this month, there had been an an expectation Jimmy O’Brien would be slotted into the side at full-back.

Head coach Andy Farrell, though, instead made something of a surprise selection with Osborne, who primarily plays at centre, drafted in.

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Hanyani Shimange, Schalk Burger and former Ireland player CJ Stander discuss the perceived hatred between South Africa and Ireland, ahead of the first Test. Full episode coming soon to RugbyPass TV

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Hanyani Shimange, Schalk Burger and former Ireland player CJ Stander discuss the perceived hatred between South Africa and Ireland, ahead of the first Test. Full episode coming soon to RugbyPass TV

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The Leinster 22-year-old may have started at full-back only twice for his province, but O’Mahony has every confidence Osborne can rise to the challenge against the world champions at Loftus Versfeld.

“He has been very patient. The kid is pretty understanding and obviously has delivered incredibly well for Leinster over the last however many seasons,” O’Mahony said at a press conference.

“One of the lads presented him with his (Ireland) jersey last night and he said it was not as if it was when the cap was going to come for him.

“He is one of these guys who is just really cool, calm, who wants to learn.

“He is a top-class professional at an early age, so you (media) said people were shocked, but I don’t think anyone in our squad was shocked about it.”

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O’Mahony added: “Jamie has been in (the squad) a few times now and spent a lot of time with us. It just makes you more familiar with guys, more comfortable.

“You play for someone more when you know them better and he has been around long enough now to know us well enough for it to really matter to him.

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“Playing for the group alongside you means a huge amount, and I am sure he will have had a great feeling of support from us over the last few days, certainly, and also since he has come into camp.”

O’Mahony is set to win his 106th Ireland cap on Saturday, but it will be the first time he will have faced the Springboks in a Test match on their home soil.

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“I think it helps you have been in the stadium before, but international rugby is different to (playing there in the) URC (United Rugby Championship),” the Munster back-row said.

“It is a different animal, a different intensity, and you are going to have a different type of crowd.

“It is a big occasion for South Africa coming back here for the first time in a Test match since winning the World Cup, so I imagine it is going to be an incredible atmosphere for everyone.”

Ireland have won the past three meetings between the two nations – and five of the last seven.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
1
Draws
0
Wins
4
Average Points scored
16
23
First try wins
100%
Home team wins
60%

However, the 13-8 World Cup pool-stage victory in Paris during September 2023 was a tight affair and O’Mahony feels small details could again prove decisive.

“We have certainly gone back and looked at that (World Cup game) and trying to fix some of those issues. A huge part of Test rugby is picking up lessons and fixing things,” O’Mahony said.

“Then trying to keep them fixed is the important thing, not just having them fixed for a couple of games and letting them sneak back in, so we did a huge amount of looking back before the Six Nations over that.”

In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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Comments

3 Comments
j
jim 13 days ago

Just like Farrell parachuting JGP into the starting Irish side when he was only backup at Leinster and we’ve all seen how that’s played out! This Farrell lad knows what he’s about

B
Barry 13 days ago

Must be training well if he's got the nod from Farrell.

F
Francois 13 days ago

Faf, Handré and Willie are going to punish him all evening…

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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