Sunday 25 August 2019

Barca fan Murphy knows he needs to up his game

Leinster's Jordi Murphy
Leinster's Jordi Murphy
David Kelly

David Kelly

Jordi Murphy tested himself on Barcelona FC history last week and was disappointed with merely a 7/10 rating - it may just prove to be better than the rating he gives himself as he struggles to rediscover his most potent form.

The son of Catalonia didn't recall exactly how many La Liga titles his heroes have won - he guessed 25 (23); and he failed to identify the beaten finalists when Barca claimed the European Cup in 1992 (Sampdoria).

"I was disappointed with myself," he confesses, after being forgiven for not knowing that Gary Neville will be the next manager to oppose Luis Enrique.

The Barcelona-born back-row star has been disappointed a lot of late. Offered the perfect World Cup stage to shine against Argentina when opportunity clattered upon his door, he barely pushed it ajar, like so many underwhelming compatriots.

And, since returning to Leinster, he has struggled to adapt to life under a new coaching regime and he was notably below par as Leo Cullen's men slumped to a pair of opening-round defeats.

Prominence

Both team and player are on the back foot and, beginning with a visit to Pro12 champions Glasgow Warriors this weekend, Murphy is desperate to regain the form that shot him into national prominence in 2014 under his erstwhile provincial coach, Joe Schmidt.

"I have to up my game at the moment and get to the standard I know I can play at, which I haven't found in the last few weeks," the 24-year-old freely admits.

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"I've been there before so I know I can do it again, and hopefully surpass it again.

"It's not a physical thing, I'm fit at the moment. I don't know to be honest, I've tried to work it out and stuff. It took me too long to kind of get back into the Leinster environment and start to get back into all the new calls, the way we are trying to play the game.

"It's one of those things. The game of rugby is so quick. We have a squad of nearly 50 at the moment with everyone fighting for places. If you get left behind, you will be shown up pretty quick. I had to get my head into it.

"There's no excuses, I've been a professional for over three years now. I don't think it's lack of experience. I just didn't prepare myself right for it.

"I've had to move between Ireland and Leinster for the last few years anyway. I suppose, maybe, there are whole new play calls this year with Leo whereas before it was with Matt O'Connor. There were different calling systems and now they've changed again.

"I'm not making any excuses. I should have prepared myself better. I am hard on myself. I try not to dwell on it.

"I know I haven't been up to the standard you need to be at to play for Leinster. Hopefully, I can turn that around the next chance I get."

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