Captaining Ireland an incredible honour - O'Mahony

Peter O'Mahony says being handed the Ireland captaincy is an "incredible honour" and it will be "extra special" to lead his country against Italy.

The back-row was named as skipper after Joe Schmidt opted to give Rory Best a rest for the clash at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

O'Mahony expressed his pride at being asked to step up in Rome, where the defending champions will be expected to build on their defeat of Scotland.

"It's hugely special, an incredible honour. It's not about personal milestones, but it's certainly special for me to be asked to lead the lads out tomorrow." said the British and Irish Lion.

"It doesn't change my week or what I do, to be honest. But it's nice to be asked. There's an incredible amount of history gone with Irish captains.

"And it's a huge honour to play in itself, but being captain is just extra special."

O'Mahony played down talk of it being a necessity for Ireland to claim a bonus-point victory over the Azzurri after losing to England in their first match of the tournament.

"If you go looking down the line you'll go wrong somewhere, 100 per cent. Teams are too good." said the flanker.

"Tomorrow it's going to start from the first minute and it's going to be about going to the very last one. So it's all about preparing for that."

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