MUNSTER captain Peter O’Mahony is hoping that fellow knee-rehabber John Madigan makes in with the big boys in Bezier.
The French PROD2 club is being taken over by billionaires from the Emirates and have already recruited players such as Beauden Barrett, Ma’a Nonu, Dan Biggar and Benjamin Fall.
O’Mahony became close friends with the Charleville native when the pair were recovering from their knee injuries.
“I spent a lot of time with John Madigan. We injured our knees, I was at the World Cup and he had a similar injury to mine which he did at home in the space of about 10 days. We rehabbed together for 12 months so I’d know Johnny well.
“He’s made a go in the last few years and he’s a big, big man. He’d be not quite as tall as RG (Snyman) but not far off and he’d be as heavy as him.
"He’s well able to play ball and by the sounds of things he’s landed on his feet in Beziers if that’s going ahead. So hopefully he can make a go of things in there and mix things up with some of the big names if they are going.”
For now, O’Mahony will be concentrating on getting his own game back in action after the unexpected break during the pandemic.
He reckons the break, his first elongated one from the game since 2015 and feels the break, while not unusual in professional rugby terms, will stand to him in the longterm.
"I think it can't do any harm. That's the reason why you had seen guys in New Zealand take six to eight months out of the game. I know we didn't have that long but it won't be that far off by the time we get back playing. I think it will stand to me.
"I'd played a huge amount of games in the space of four or five years and it was taking its toll ly. I feel good, I feel really hungry to get back into it.
"It was a great mental refreshment as well as a physical one so I think there are a lot of positives to take out of it and it will certainly give me longevity and, hopefully, something back at the end of my career.”
He has just over seven weeks to the Reds first game back which has been pencilled in for August 22 in the Aviva against Leinster.
Munster have moved from groups of six players training in a session to 12 and that has helped bring out the natural competitive spirit in everybody says the Munster captain.
“We knew what we were expecting coming in last Monday week. There was obviously a lot of protocols we need to adhere to. At the same time, you're 12 and 13 weeks out of rugby and you want to get back in and hit the ground running and prove yourself.
"Obviously, the competitive animal in everyone comes back out as soon as you're back in the group of six I think it was last week and 12 this week.
"Even things like speed drills, you're trying to win them straight away. Look to be fair they're monitoring us after a break like that which no professional player has ever had since they started playing professional rugby.
"I suppose you need to have the reins pulled in a little bit. You can't come back in and have 10 or 12 soft-tissue injuries in the first week so I think we've been managed quite well and certainly, there is an eagerness to come back so it's coming back slowly with all the protocols that we need to adhere to.”
He has been impressed by new signing RG Snyman at those training sessions.
“RG is in my group. He is an incredible specimen altogether. I have never seen anything like it. (He is a) Very impressive, physical man. He's 6' 10” or 11" or seven-foot – whatever he is!
“He looks like he can shift as well, doing speed work. He is a serious-looking athlete.
“It's great to be around guys and to have signed guys of that calibre. You go through the provinces who have won the European Cup and the PRO14, you look at the teams in those days, and they have had world-class signings in nearly every one of them.
“They are the kind of calibre of player that you sign to win trophies with. It's very encouraging to be singing players of that calibre.”