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Peter O'Mohony reacts to Caelan Doris withdrawal

Peter O'Mohony reacts to Caelan Doris withdrawal
© Reuters
Leinster number eight Caelan Doris left the Irish camp after suffering with concussion symptoms.

Peter O'Mahony says Ireland must swiftly forget about the loss of the "exceptional" Caelan Doris and focus on executing a "seamless" back-row reshuffle.

Leinster number eight Doris was tipped to shine in this year's Guinness Six Nations but prematurely left the Irish camp after suffering with concussion symptoms.

The enforced absence of the 22-year-old, who was arguably his country's standout performer in the Autumn Nations Cup, presents a major dilemma for head coach Andy Farrell ahead of Sunday's tournament opener away to Wales.

Caelan Doris will miss Ireland's Six Nations opener
Caelan Doris will miss Ireland's Six Nations opener (Niall Carson/PA)

Munster flanker O'Mahony is expected to occupy one of the three loose forward spots in Cardiff and believes there is sufficient desire within the squad to overcome a significant blow to their plans.

"It's not tough. You've six or seven back-rowers here who are fighting for three spots," the 31-year-old said of Doris being sidelined.

"The big thing about it is, you don't want to see one of your men go down, and Caelan has been one of the outstanding Irish players in the last probably 18 months, two years.

"He's been exceptional and he certainly will be a big loss, but there are guys who are hungry and we demand that when someone goes down there's someone there and it's as seamless as possible.

"And that's the way it has to be in international rugby, you can't be waiting for people.

"Everyone in the group was gutted to see him go home but, at the same time, there are guys there who are chomping at the bit to get a go, myself included."

CJ Stander could return to the centre of the back row at the Principality Stadium after often being moved to blindside flanker to accommodate Doris in the past year

O'Mahony, Rhys Ruddock, Will Connors, Josh Van Der Flier and the uncapped Gavin Coombes are the other options available to Farrell at the back of the pack.

Wales have struggled to impress since the appointment of head coach Wayne Pivac and were twice comfortably beaten in Dublin during 2020.

Wayne Pivac endured a difficult first year in charge of Wales
Wayne Pivac endured a difficult first year in charge of Wales (Adam Davy/PA)

O'Mahony anticipates a reaction from the Welsh but is determined to begin the tournament with victory.

"It's an incredibly difficult place to go and get a result, we're in no doubt about that," he said.

"It's going to be a huge challenge. The players and the squad they have picked, they are obviously going to want to improve on where they came from in the last few months, I've no doubt.

"And with the changes, it leaves them a little bit unpredictable from our point of view. But all we can do it focus on ourselves.

"I think everyone understands how important the first game in the championship is. It's a massive tone-setter for the rest of it and that's the way we will be taking it for the weekend."

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Ireland captain Paul O' Connell in action during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match against France on October 11, 2015
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ChinaChina34241674
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events


HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women aim to secure their place on the podium as they face India in the bronze medal match (2.30am)
· Netherlands - silver medallists five years ago - and Argentina battle for the gold medal in the women's final (11am)

BEACH VOLLEYBALL
· The women's gold medal will be decided as Australia and USA go head to head (3.30am)

BOXING
· Lauren Price will be looking to add to Team GB's success in the ring when she takes on Nouchka Fontijn of Netherlands in the women's middleweight semi-final (6am)

DIVING
· Tom Daley already has one Olympic gold to his name in Tokyo, and he begins his bid for second in the men's 10m platform. Teammate Noah Williams is also involved in the preliminary round (7am)

CYCLING
· Jason Kenny's reign as sprint king may be over, but Jack Carlin looked strong in his bid to succeed his compatriot. He takes on Harrie Lavreysen in his sprint semi-final (8.10am), with the final taking place later in the day (10.35am)
· The women's madison makes its Olympic debut at the velodrome as Team GB duo Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny look to add another medal to their collections (9.15am)

FOOTBALL
· Hosts Japan will look to get themselves on the podium as they face Mexico in the men's bronze medal match (10am)
· The women's champions will be crowned as both Sweden and Canada aim to win Olympic gold for the very first time (1pm)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 5000m final includes Great Britain's Andrew Butchart, but most eyes will be on Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (1pm)
· Team GB's Jodie Williams will hope to get on the podium in the women's 400m final, but defending champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo is favourite for gold while Stephenie Ann McPherson should challenge and Allyson Felix is bidding to become the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time (1.35pm)
· Netherlands' Sifan Hassan takes on leg two of her ambitious attempt at a Tokyo treble in a women's 1500m final which also includes Great Britain's Laura Muir and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (1.50pm)
· A star-studded women's 4x100m relay final will see a Team GB quartet including Dina Asher-Smith look to upset defending champions USA and favourites Jamaica, who boast Elaine Thompson-Herah as she goes for her third gold of the Games (2.30pm)
· Great Britain and Jamaica will also be going for gold in the men's 4x100m relay final, and their medal hopes have been boosted by USA's failure to qualify (2.50pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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