AMONGST THE OVERRIDING sense of disappointment in the the Ireland changing room following yesterday’s 13-10 defeat to England, there was a bittersweet moment for Jordi Murphy.
The Leinster back row admits he had “mixed emotions coming off the pitch,” given that his international debut came in a game that was lost so narrowly. The 22-year-old’s pride at winning his first cap was stunted by the knowledge that Ireland had left a win behind.
While seven minutes on the pitch didn’t allow Murphy much involvement, his three carries saw a 14-metre return, as well as one defender beaten and one pass completed. He says he felt at ease despite the ferocious physical nature of the Six Nations clash.
“Throughout the day there was a bit of nerves, but as soon as I got called, I just forgot about everything, just got into it and was just like I was playing rugby anywhere else.
It was a seriously tight game; they don’t get any tighter than that. I felt comfortable when I came on and I didn’t feel out of my depth, so I suppose that’s a positive from my point of view.”
Ireland were losers in an evenly-fought contest and Murphy felt that Joe Schmidt’s men “paid the price” for their lack of a clinical edge. The Lansdowne RFC clubman also admitted that Ireland would have taken three points if they had won a penalty late in the game.
On reflection, a draw would have been hard to argue against as a fair outcome, and Murphy insists that Ireland will not be overreacting to this loss. The Six Nations title is still there for the taking.
Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
“We know we’re still in with a chance, we’re just disappointed we didn’t get the win. What’s the point in biting each other’s heads off? We’ve still got a championship to win and we’re still in with a possibility.
“Everyone’s a professional player, we know defeat is part of it and we’ve got to move on.”
Next up for Schmidt’s side is the visit of Italy to Dublin on the 8th of March, a game for which Murphy warns the away team will be”firing and looking for their first win.”
With Peter O’Mahony, Jamie Heaslip and Chris Henry having performed well in the opening three games, Murphy is unsure if he has a genuine chance of starting that encounter.
They’ve been outstanding throughout the campaign so far. From my point of view coming on, I just have to look to fit in straightaway so there’s not an imbalance. I’m watching them throughout the game, looking at the things they’re doing right and looking to emulate it when I come on.
“I would relish playing in any international game, playing for your country. I obviously got a few minutes and now I’ve got to train well. Joe will make the decision in the coming weeks.”
- Additional reporting by Patrick McCarry.