Sport Rugby

Sunday 26 January 2020

Tigers show no sentiment by dropping Murphy

Geordan Murphy
Geordan Murphy

Chris Hewett

The nearest Leicester come to sentimentality is allowing an old-stager to leave a Tuesday training session with each of his four limbs in full working order, so there was never much chance of Richard Cockerill wiping a tear from his eye as he consigned Geordan Murphy to the past tense ahead of Saturday's Premiership final with Northampton.

"Geordan has done his bit," Cockerill said of the celebrated former Ireland full-back – the implication being that he would not be doing any more.

Murphy (below), the modern-day equivalent of the old-fashioned "one-club man", retires at the end of the season and has already been offered a job on the Leicester coaching staff. What he has not been offered is a place in the team for the East Midlands derby to end them all.

"If Geordan was the best player available, he'd be in the team," Cockerill said. "At the moment, his form doesn't merit that. This occasion is not about Geordan or any of the people who are leaving us: Matt O'Connor (the Leinster-bound attack coach), or Martin Castrogiovanni (the folk-hero prop). It's about the club, and about becoming champions."

Cockerill was casting his mind back to the Premiership showpiece in 2005, when Leicester finished a distant second to Wasps. "Everyone spent the week talking about the fact that it was Martin Johnson's last game for the club, and Neil Back's too," he said. "Wasps? They kept their heads down during the build-up and won 39-14. We have to concentrate on the detail, not the emotion."

Unless something untoward happens in training, the Leicester No 15 shirt will be worn by Mathew Tait – a player with a brilliant future ahead of him rather than behind him. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Schools rugby special - 'The St Michael’s dream team are the side to beat'

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport