World Cup the ultimate motivation for Murphy
Published 11/03/2010 | 05:00
During the last Irish coaching interregnum, Geordan Murphy sat in a Dublin hotel and wondered whether he would ever have a chance of playing in another World Cup.
"I'm not going to play forever," he mused. "Maybe another two years."
Two years on, he's keeping the Lions full-back at bay in Declan Kidney's Irish team. His club, Leicester Tigers, are offering him a three-year deal which, given that he has just returned from five months in casualty and doesn't have a cigar-smoking Mr 10pc fighting his corner, is some tribute in the modern game.
Now his thoughts on the World Cup are brimming with clarity. "Very much so," beamed Murphy in that easy way of his at Irish HQ.
"It was always my goal. I did an interview with someone a month or six weeks ago, just before I came back from injury, and I said that's my goal; the next World Cup is my goal.
"Obviously the first World Cup I didn't get to go to, I broke my leg (in 2003). The last World Cup I was disappointed with, I didn't see a whole lot of field time. I certainly want to be involved in the next World Cup, I'll hold my hand up and say that.
"I'll do whatever I can to try and get there. I want to be on that plane, I want to get to the next World Cup with Ireland. Hopefully I'm an asset and good enough to go in the squad, whether that is in the team or as a squad player.
"I feel like I am, but obviously it doesn't matter what I feel, it's what the management think and it's a long way away. There are some fantastic players coming through the ranks, some really good guys in the squad and some younger guys."
And Murphy will hope that Brian O'Driscoll retains his captaincy; the backs in the camp prefer his more leisurely Captain's Run compared to the occasionally frenetic efforts when Paul O'Connell stands in for the ton-up centre.
"And his speeches have got a lot better," Murphy joked at O'Driscoll's expense. "He was pretty brutal at the start. And the Captain's Run is just a difference between forwards and backs.
"The backs are more laid back and the forwards do a lot more work than us anyway. I don't know why anyone would want to be a forward. Try and get out of there if you can, any young kids who are reading this!
"They do so much more work than the backs. 'Forwards win you rugby matches and backs decide by how much' is the old saying. It's very true. Today in the training session for the last 15 minutes the backs were laughing and giggling and whooping it up.
"Then we looked over and the forwards were all beating each other up and fighting over the ball in the mud. It's always been like that and probably always will be like that. It's not something I'm particularly proud of, but that's life! Mind you, the forwards tend not to have to come in and do these interviews, so that's probably pay-back."