Rob Howley hails Peter O'Mahony's quiet leadership
Captain Peter O'Mahony can "lead in the shadows" to drive the British and Irish Lions to a first Test victory against the All Blacks, according to Rob Howley.
Assistant coach Howley hailed the Lions' quiet man skipper O'Mahony as an honest leader who has brought a sense of calm to Warren Gatland's tourists.
O'Mahony will skipper the Lions in this morning's first Test against New Zealand at Eden Park, where the hosts have not lost since 1994.
The Munster flanker will lead the Lions ahead of tour skipper Sam Warburton, who takes a seat on the bench – and Howley praised O'Mahony's understated but impactful stewardship.
"Peter's led particularly well," said Howley of O'Mahony.
"There are leaders who lead in the shadows, who are very quiet, honest and lead by actions, and then there are others who lead by words.
"Peter's a very quiet person, but his respect is great within the group, he just leads through actions.
"He brings a calming nature to the group.
"And also there are other leaders who lead by words. There's a really good blend.
"Peter goes about his job in his own way, and I quite like that.
"He's not at the forefront but he's there having a chat, the one-on-ones, and that's important, because he gives other players confidence. And he's certainly done that this week."
Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray has been captained by O'Mahony right through the age-group levels with Munster, and believes the 27-year-old has always been a natural skipper.
Murray praised O'Mahony for not letting the lifelong dream of Lions captaincy alter his approach or bearing this week.
"It was always in him, he was always a leader," said Murray.
"He was always someone who, if something wasn't done right he'd want to put it right and he wouldn't be happy until it was.
"When we all came into Munster, we've grown up with the likes of Paul O'Connell, Ronan O'Gara, all these guys.
"We've grown up with them and we've taken a lot of experience and learned an awful lot from them.
"From young age group sides where Pete captained me, he's been the same.
"Obviously he's learned as time has gone on, through different experiences, he's developed his leadership skills.
"And this has taken it all to a whole new level now. But the really pleasing thing from my point of view is that it hasn't changed him.
"He doesn't seem more stressed, he's taken it in his stride.
"It's always been a dream of his to captain the Lions, and the lads really respect him. When he speaks you can see lads listening, and that's massive."