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This isn't end of an era, insists Murphy

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Leinster's Jordi Murphy. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

Leinster's Jordi Murphy. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

Leinster's Jordi Murphy. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

OUT of deep hurt can come high achievement.

Gordon D'Arcy knows all about that. He had to suffer for many years as a loser of big games before he came to win the big ones. It made them all the sweeter in the end.

The comparison with the Celtic Tiger comes to mind. There are many young Leinster players who have never had to 'take the pain'. They have grown up mostly in the good times.

Are Leinster in a recessionary period when the value of all they have laboured for is about to fall down around them? Is their time as a European superpower over?

Continuity

Young gun Jordi Murphy takes up the gauntlet thrown down: "I don't think it is the end of an era. Continuity is one of our main things," he said.

"We've had a good winning streak and mentality over the last few years. We don't want to stop that at all just because there are new and young players coming in. It is up to us to take up the mantle and continue that".

When Toulon took Leinster out of the Heineken Cup, they sent the players, young and older, back inside a morgue of a dressing room where at least one generational warrior was left to ponder the end of his European career.

Emotion

For Brian O'Driscoll, it was the last time he would do so in the Heineken, feeling closer in emotion to those early days than those of latter years, more specifically 2009, 2011 and 2012.

"It is character building. We didn't make it into the Heineken (final) last year and we wanted to make up for that this year. We will remember that hurt for next year's competition," said Murphy.

"We don't want to be in that place again. The dressing room was not a very happy place after. We want to make sure that doesn't happen to us in the Rabo."

The fork in the road is there, at least for this season. Leinster can retreat into their shell, return to the old brand where flash was not backed up by the meaty underbelly of hard-nosed competitiveness.

Or they can react as champions do. It all starts at The Liberty Stadium this evening. The excuses are there. Leinster have had five days to recover from the devastation of a physical and mental battering against Toulon.

In the meantime, the Ospreys have had two weeks to prepare to make it four straight home wins over Leinster in the PRO12 League at The Liberty Stadium.

Curse

The curse was lifted by Leinster's Heineken Cup win there in the autumn and they have won their last eight in the League since their last defeat to Edinburgh back in December.

They want to finish first at the end of the regular season: "That's the goal. We're in pole position.

"And we want to stay there. The Ospreys are in fifth. It has shown over the last number of years that a home semi-final is a big bonus," said Murphy.

The back-rower will have to bide his time.

He wasn't able to train this week to convince coach Matt O'Connor he was the man for the job tonight. Shane Jennings holds on to the number seven jersey he wore against Munster and Toulon in the last two weeks.

"It's difficult when you're subbing for any game. You want to be on. You look at the game, analysing it, thinking what you can bring when you come on. Hopefully, you will get on and you'll make an impression when you do," added Murphy.

There is also the small matter of personal goals as the two-test tour to Argentina looms in June. Joe Schmidt has not been in touch with Murphy. He knows what he has to do.

"If you want to be playing in Argentina, or get selected for the squad, you need to play for your province. It is the only team you can play for at the moment.

"You have to play well when you do play."


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