Peter O'Mahony continued his rapid ascension to the top of European and international rugby after a starring performance in Ireland's 26-3 thrashing of defending Six Nations champions Wales on Saturday.
The 24-year-old, who was named as Munster captain at the start of the season, was the standout player in what was the team performance of the second round of Six Nation games.
The Ireland blindside flanker, who has 21 caps to his name, was at his ferocious best as the home side completely out-fought a powerful Welsh side, with O'Mahony getting the better of British and Irish Lion Dan Lydiate.
It was mesmerising to see the flanker's awesome determination, sheer power and supreme ability to carry the ball past countless opponents. Quite simply, his importance to Joe Schmidt's side cannot be stressed enough as Ireland continue to be tipped as potential championship winners.
O'Mahony, who was rightly named man-of-the-match at Aviva Stadium on Saturday, will need to be at his disruptive best against a fearsome England pack at the Twickenham cauldron in nine days' time. It will be a big test against arguably the best pack in European rugby.
Regardless of the clash at the home of English rugby, though, the Cork-born back row has undoubtedly emerged as another big leader in the Irish side and appears a natural candidate to replace 35-year-old O'Connell as Ireland captain in the near future, with O'Mahony sharing many of the same traits as the veteran.
It is fitting that as one Irish legend, Brian O'Driscoll, edges closer to calling time on his Ireland career, another star is born.
- Sports & Recreation