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Thursday Mar 28, 2024

World Cup winning Springbok captain and Scotland icon weigh in on Peter O'Mahony future

2007 Rugby World Cup winner John Smith knows a thing or two about fending off a challenge from up-and-coming talent.

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Leading the Springboks between 2004 – 2011, Smit faced challenges for his place in the Bok starting line-up from several talented operators, namely Bismarck Du Plessis.

Making his debut in 2000, Smit would go on to play 111 tests for the Boks and would have a remarkable run of 46 consecutive starts between 2003 – 2007.

Leading his team to a World Cup in 2007, two Tri-Nations titles in 2004 and 2009, and a British and Irish Lions series victory, Smit has gone down as one of the best to ever pull on the green jersey.

Thus, when it comes to advising a player in a similar position to where he found himself towards the end of his career, it would make sense to take note.

Discussing Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony, Smit and former Scotland captain Chris Paterson were asked about the Munster backrow’s future at a BKT United Rugby Championship media round table.

Getting the conversation underway, Paterson responded to the question by saying, “The only advice I would give to him is, ‘you know yourself’ what the right decision is in terms of if you’re going to continue playing or move on so he’ll know.

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“Through discussions with others it will confirm whether he knows what he thinks is the right thing or perhaps maybe not yet.

“I just see someone who captained his country to a Championship what two weeks ago? A massively influential player.

“I assume, as I don’t know Peter O’Mahony, but I have admired him for a long, long time, that he is someone who is massively influential in every single training session he takes part in.

“He just strikes me as that type of player and that type of person with a huge amount still to give.

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“So if he is still delivering like he did in the Championship and I know he picked up a couple of yellow cards but that’s what you get with Peter O’Mahony in terms of somebody right on the edge.

“I would be surprised if he felt he couldn’t still contribute massively to whoever he played with.

“On the flip side of that, I know how he has played the game, and I know how physical of a player he is, and I know how attritional the backrow is, so he’ll know through his body what the right thing is to do or not.

“But any advice I would say to him is, ‘trust your hunch’ he’ll have a hunch that will be right, but it might just need to be underlined by speaking to other people.

“I think he still has a huge amount to offer, and I think there will be a huge number of teams wanting him because of his impact, influence, and winning mentality.”

Joining the conversation, Smit said, “If I was a CEO of whatever club or franchise that was trying to acquire him, I would be telling him, I would be begging him to continue.

“I love watching Peter; he irritates the life out of me because he is always part of the opposition.”

Smit continued to praise O’Mahony, saying, “I love watching him because he has so much fire and passion.

“He always gives 100% every time he plays, and he’s got the ability to influence the game, not just with the way he plays, but he has got this presence.

“In our time we had a guy like that who didn’t have to speak much, he could really talk a lot but Bakkies (Botha) had that sort of presence and Peter has that.”

Putting a different spin on his answer, Smit said that those close to the backrow may have a different opinion.

“If I was Peter’s friend and I was advising him, I would say, ‘Peter, you’re a rugby centurion, you’ve won multiple trophies, do whatever the hell you want, mate’.”

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