Monday 24 September 2018

Murphy switches focus after first taste of Baa-Baas

Ireland's Jordi Murphy. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland's Jordi Murphy. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

A week spent in the relaxed environment of the Barbarians provides brief respite from the daily grind of club demands but immediately switching your focus to a rigorous international camp like Joe Schmidt's is an altogether different challenge.

That's what Jordi Murphy faced in Carton House this week after he made a try-scoring debut for the Baa-Baas in Thomond Park last weekend.

Add in the fact that Murphy hasn't played for Ireland since damaging his ACL in the historic win over the All Blacks last year, and you can understand the scale of the task that he has had on his hands in attempting to get back up to speed.

"It's been a strange two weeks," he admitted.

"Very different environments, definitely. I'd be lying if I said the Baa-Baas wasn't more craic. It was an interesting week. That's all I'll say.

"We had maybe two or three moves and we were trying to come up with funny penalty moves and things, and we had four lineouts that we could call on the day and he was just saying it's one of those things, it's no-pressure rugby, but when you come you have to turn up."

The Leinster player returns to Ireland's starting XV tomorrow and given the wealth of back-row options Schmidt has, Murphy is eager to take his chance.

"As soon as I got injured there was two or three lads coming back in and there was no problem filling the void," the 26-year-old maintained.

"A lot of lads played well during the season and we had three back-rowers going on the Lions. A few lads put up their hands as well on the summer tour and sure I wasn't in the squad until this time a few weeks ago.

"It just shows you how quick things can change. The game is attritional and there are a lot of injuries so you just have to be ready to step in whenever you get the chance and I'm grateful to get that opportunity this weekend.

"I'm trying to enjoy every day as much as I can, I'm not taking anything for granted anymore which maybe I did in the past.

"I do a lot more work-ons, rehab outside of the pitch, not just working on passing or tackling, it's in the gym working on certain parts of me to keep everything going and try and avoid situations like the knee going out of nowhere the last time.

"Obviously it was dark times. I was very lucky to have a good, strong support group in Leinster and family behind me."

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