'What Peter O’Mahony does well is something Ryan Baird is starting to match now'

'what peter o’mahony does well is something ryan baird is starting to match now'

Ryan Baird.

RYAN BAIRD’S PROGRESS to the point where he is a viable starter in place of Peter O’Mahony in the Ireland pack was a topic of discussion on today’s Rugby Weekly Extra, the podcast for subscribers to The 42.

The Leinster player is beginning to match the unseen, unselfish work long associated with O’Mahony, according to Murray Kinsella, rugby journalist with The 42. Yet the Ireland captain remains invaluable to head coach Andy Farrell, Kinsella added.

“Baird has really improved in that. That side of his game has gone through the roof, he’s more Peter O’Mahonyesque,” Kinsella said.

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“He’s nailing his lineout defence, you can see how much time he’s putting into it and how much desire he has for that. His maul stuff has been good, and his ruck. He’s shifting bodies better and he’s … he’s been put on notice for all that stuff – that that’s what it takes, you have to have that as well as the ability to just thunder onto Ronan Kelleher’s offload and gallop upfield. It’s so fun every time it happens . . . that exuberance was great.

“What Peter O’Mahony does well is something he’s starting to match now.

“Peter O’Mahony, he defended well I thought in this game (against Wales), had 10 tackles and seven carries which is actually higher than what he sometimes hits in those numbers. He doesn’t tend to have massive breakdown numbers when you look at it, he doesn’t hit a load of rucks, even when he’s not carrying.

“I can see why people go, ‘Well, what’s he doing?’ But there are intangibles in rugby, intangibles to us, but they are tangible to Andy and teammates in terms of how he makes them feel and how he leads, and how he sets the tone and gives the right message and backs you up at the right moment and demands the right standards of you and all that stuff – it really does matter and Farrell puts a massive value on that.

“He always has figures like that he leans on. He has a lifetime of being around those people in sport, he was one of them himself when he was playing. You look at even Keith Earls going to the World Cup. All that stuff, around what you do on the pitch, it matters to Andy Farrell.”

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