Munster rule out playing Peter O’Mahony against Ospreys

Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus hails Niall Scannell’s performance for Ireland

Munster’s Jack O’Donoghue and Peter O’Mahony in training on Monday ahead of Saturday’s clash against Ospreys. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Munster’s Jack O’Donoghue and Peter O’Mahony in training on Monday ahead of Saturday’s clash against Ospreys. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Peter O’Mahony is on target to be available for the first home match of the Six Nations against France on Saturday week, but he will not be risked for Munster this weekend.

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said that his captain was ready to return from a hamstring injury but he will not feature when the Pro12 leaders head to Ospreys on Saturday.

O’Mahony trained with Munster at University of Limerick on Monday but Erasmus ruled out playing him in Saturday’s top of the table clash at Liberty Stadium.

“He won’t feature this week for us. He’s still a week away. I think he might be ready next week but it would be stupid now to push that this week,” said Erasmus.

He is waiting to see what players are released from Irish camp to make the trip to Wales, with the likes of John Ryan, Ian Keatley and Billy Holland likely to be available for the clash against an Ospreys side who are just a point behind them at the top of the table.

Erasmus said that he was thrilled for Niall Scannell to step into the side when captain Rory Best cried off and perform so well.

Sterner tests

“But he is overall a really calm and confident player and person. He was Ireland Under-20 captain, so he has leader ability. So if he keeps his head and trains hard and stays focused he will play a lot for Ireland.

“Niall would have been nervous, a late change, the captain out and, yeah, he steps in. He lost one lineout ball, but he was good all over the park. But that is positive and it is wonderful for us.

“That should be such a motivational thing for guys like Rhys Marshall and Duncan Casey and Kevin O’Byrne, and all of the other guys that if it happens so quickly to Niall, it can happen so quickly to Jack O’Donoghue and all of the other boys who are also so close. I am very glad for him, but also glad for the Munster boys.”

Erasmus has a number of injury concerns following Friday’s 45-17 bonus point over Dragons, with Andrew Conway and Dave Foley following return-to-play protocols after head knocks, while Jean Kleyn (neck), Jaco Taute (shoulder) and Francis Saili are also nursing injuries.

Meanwhile, Erasmus dismissed reports that he is poised to add a French coach to his management team for next season.

Regis Sonnes, who coached in Begles Bordeaux and also had stints with Agen and Narbonne, has been living in Bandon since last summer.

Reports in the French media suggested he was to be added to the Munster coaching ticket, but Erasmus said he didn’t know him.

“I have never met the guy, I really don’t know who he is, never spoken to him so it’s definitely not true,” added the South African.

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