Peter O’Mahony turned 29 this month, he clocked up many miles during his rugby career since he turned pro in the 2011/12 season.
He’s picked up 50 Ireland caps, played 109 times in Munster red and donned another red jersey – that of the British and Irish Lions. He’s captained all three sides too, so when he talks you listen. And when he bluntly says “rugby has got to the stage where it is going to be difficult to play 30 games a year”, you can’t but take notice.
A subject he is passionate about is player load and the amount rugby players are subject to. It certainly was a major factor when it came to signing a 3-year contract extension in December to keep him with Munster and Ireland until 2021.
“I must say we’re certainly well looked after, management load wise and game-time wise, so that would be my experience of the teams I’ve played with under the IRFU and Munster.
“Look whatever helps with player load and management. Rugby has got to the stage where it is going to be difficult to play 30 games a year. It’s so physically demanding and it’s such a toll on your body”, O’Mahony told RugbyPass.
O’Mahony is an advocate of the new proposed calendar from World Rugby which from 2020 would see the June window move to a month later to try and sync the two hemisphere’s calendar a little better, with the November window remaining as is.
“There is a certainly a lot of pros for the argument. It is about getting fixtures in for both sides of the two hemispheres.
“If the reasoning behind it is for the benefit of the players then obviously that is the most important thing. Look, we shall have to wait and see, it is not something that is going to happen overnight, there is probably a huge amount of work gone into it so far and there is probably a lot more work to go into it to figure out the logistics of it. But by all accounts it is coming down the line.”
O’Mahony’s Ireland team-mate Johnny Sexton also expressed hope that the rugby calendar gets ironed out.
“I hope that common sense prevails and that we get an agreement between the hemispheres, because the international game needs Ireland to be playing New Zealand in November, England to be playing South Africa and New Zealand and we need that. The game is a global game and needs to be that and hopefully there is compromises reached and we can sort it out,” the Leinster captain said.
“What’s difficult is that we will play Australia and South Africa at the end of our season and a lot of time the squad is depleted or you’re tired and then when they come here in November it’s the end of their season and they’re in that bracket.
“So until you get to a World Cup you never actually play each other and even at a World Cup you are playing mid-season for them and start of a season for us. It would be good if it was all in the same season, you’re playing each other under the same circumstances, but that is wishful thinking, but hopefully we can get more common ground.”
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