Saturday 18 January 2020

Van der Flier backs Murphy to regain spot in Farrell's plans

Josh van der Flier. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie
Josh van der Flier. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

Des Berry

Josh Van Der Flier is confident Jordi Murphy will return to the Ireland squad for Six Nations duty next year despite being left out of Andy Farrell's first training squad.

Farrell will assemble his troops for a one-day camp this weekend without Murphy and Rob Kearney - two high-profile omissions from the get-together.

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"The way it goes is, people who aren't in the initial squad will definitely end up playing in the Six Nations," insisted van der Flier, speaking yesterday at the launch the 2019/2020 Student Enterprise Programme.

Van der Flier has sympathy for former team-mate and fellow flanker Murphy but believes the door hasn't been permanently shut on his international career.

"He has been playing incredible rugby and it seems every back-row in the country seems to be playing good rugby as well. I am sure he is very disappointed as a top quality player. He'll be back in, in no time I'm sure.

"The thing is I know from memory there are players not in the squad that end up playing a good bit. It is just the way the coaches see form and who they want in camp."

"It was obviously pretty tough for Rob (Kearney), a world-class player. I am pretty sure he is the most successful Irish player, in terms of what he has achieved."

Van der Flier believes the discarding of Murphy and Kearney illustrates the competition for places in the Ireland squad and how that can only benefit new coach Farrell

"I have never experienced not having competition," said Van der Flier. "There is a lot of pressure. When you look at Dan (Leavy) and Jack Conan, two brilliant players, with Leinster and Ireland, they have been out.

"Then, you have Will (Connors), Caelan (Doris) and Max (Deegan), Scott Penny and Josh Murphy as well, they've been exceptional when Ireland were at the World Cup.

"Will Connors' performance against Glasgow was unbelievable. It keeps that pressure on. It is just the nature of the way it is and has been at Leinster.

"I know I have to be at my best at training and every weekend or else someone will take my place.

"I don't know what it would be like without that pressure because I haven't experienced not having competition. It has definitely been good for me in terms of motivation. I couldn't afford to not to be on my game, preparing as well a I could."

Irish Independent

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