Wednesday 18 September 2019

Ireland want three strong options for every position - Richie Murphy

 

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, right, and assistant coach Richie Murphy. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, right, and assistant coach Richie Murphy. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Ireland are aiming to have at least three viable options for every position ahead of next year's World Cup as they look to kick on from their historic win over New Zealand last weekend.

Assistant coach Richie Murphy said the example of the depth at openside flanker, where Josh van der Flier stepped up in the absence of injured pair Seán O'Brien and Dan Leavy to star in the 16-9 victory is where the squad need to get to.

This Saturday's clash with the United States will offer an opportunity for Joe Schmidt to have a look at a number of new faces as he prepares to make wholesale changes.

"I think the squad is building all the time," Murphy said.

"In an ideal world, we would be three-deep in every position. When you look at the No 7s; Seánie got injured, Dan missed out. Josh comes in and is one of the best players on the pitch. What we'd like to have is a situation where that it is the same.

"If you look at No 9, you've got Conor (Murray), you've got Marmo (Kieran Marmion) and you've got John Cooney coming up behind and Luke (McGrath) in there too.

"We'll always be trying to look for more and build that because strength (in depth) in the past has let us down a little bit."

Connacht will be without Ireland pair Kieran Marmion and Bundee Aki for the next few weeks, with Aki travelling to New Zealand for his wedding and set to return in mid-December as Marmion goes for ankle surgery and faces a race to be fit for the Six Nations opener.

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