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Quinlan believes O’Mahony has international class

Guinness PRO12 Editor

2 Feb 2012

Munster great Alan Quinlan has backed the young pretender to his crown Peter O’Mahony to slot straight into international rugby this weekend.

After some impressive displays in the RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup this term the 22-year-old looks all set to make his Ireland debut against Wales on Sunday after being named among the replacements.

For a player who had just 11 Munster appearances to his name heading into this season the speed of O'Mahony’s rise inevitably leads to question marks about his readiness.

However Quinlan – who hung up his boots at the end of last season – insists the former Ireland Under-20 captain has the attributes to cut it at the highest level.

“He is a very good player and has captained a lot of age grade teams,” said Quinlan. “I know he is highly thought of by a lot of people in the Munster set-up and he will be a future captain for Munster.

“He is already competing on the big stage. He is coming of age at the moment and can have a huge impact for Munster this year.

“He is a very large player who just has this natural aggression and power, but is intelligent with it. On top of that he has a great work ethic around the field.

“I was certainly nowhere near as powerful as he is at his age. The challenge for him is to start week in, week out.

“Of course there are areas he can work on but he is willing to listen and learn which not every young player is so he has a big future.”