Friday, March 12, 2010

Murphy flavour of the Irish month – Six Nations Rugby

IT says much about the transformation of Geordan Murphy’s international fortunes that he’s keeping Lions Test star Rob Kearney out of the Ireland team to face Wales this weekend.

Despite being recognised as one of the most naturally talented players in British rugby, the Leicester full-back was frequently overlooked by O’Sullivan, who tended to prefer the more prosaic qualities of the solid yet far from spectacular Girvan Dempsey.
When Kearney was ruled out of last month’s game against England with a knee problem, it was Murphy who Kidney turned to.
That was despite the fact he’d only made one start for the Tigers after a five-month layoff with a shoulder injury.
He responded with a fine display in the 20-16 victory at Twickenham and has kept his place for Saturday’s Croke Park clash, even though Kearney is now available again, with the Lions ace having to make do with a spot on the bench.
“Rob looked fantastic in training and I thought if he was fit and he was picked I couldn’t have any gripes because he was the guy in possession of the shirt when he got injured.
“I think that’s the way sport is. It generally goes back. So I’m really pleased to be in. I’ve been happy with the way I’m playing.
“I was thrown into the England match with not a lot of game-time, but it went OK and I went and played again for Leicester at the weekend and I was happy with how that went.
“I think I’ve still got a little more to go, but I’m really enjoying it, that’s the main thing, especially having been on the outside for so long. It’s nice to be back involved.”
Asked whether his confidence had been sapped by the previous Ireland regime, he replied: “I don’t know.
“When I picked up my shoulder injury in September I was worried about my place in the squad.
“I fully expect to see Rob on the field this weekend, he’s too good of a player to not be out there. He’s world class.
“But I’ve got to try and play as well as I can and let management make those decisions.
“I’ve always said I want to play in a green shirt and I want to do my best. If I’m an asset then hopefully I’ll get picked. I’ve just got to keep trying to do as well as I can.
“Everyone’s been saying they’re not playing that well , but some of the tries they’ve scored have been some of the best you’ll see in the Six Nations.
“They’re dangerous across the board and when they get to play they have great players like Shane Williams who can score a try from absolutely nothing.
“They’ll probably try and raise that again and they’ve got no fears coming to Croke Park. It’s going to be a very tough match.”

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