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Murphy and Niamh Briggs with the Six Nations trophy in 2015.
Murphy and Niamh Briggs with the Six Nations trophy in 2015.

'We want to win the Six Nations': Ireland out to lay down a marker in World Cup year

Jenny Murphy is back in the Ireland squad and hungry for more success.
Jan 26th 2017, 8:45 PM 4,577 1

JENNY MURPHY SAYS Ireland will look to lay down a marker during the Six Nations ahead of this summer’s World Cup on home soil.

The centre missed last year’s Championship campaign through injury and only returned to the international stage last weekend as she made an impressive cameo in the warm-up defeat to Wales.

With Tom Tierney’s side now knee-deep in preparation ahead of the trip to Scotland next weekend, Murphy admits the squad are looking to play an attacking brand of rugby at the start of a massive year.

“We’re quietly confident,” Murphy says. “The same as other years, we’re taking it game by game and at the moment we’re not really focused on Scotland just yet. It’s getting through these camps and the key kind of things Tom wants us to get through. We need to tick the boxes and then look towards Scotland.

“I just think we want to do things with confidence and try new things. We’re not playing it safe this Six Nations, not that we did before, but Tom has been here for three years now and he expects growth and we’re going to be pushing ourselves.

“Every player is going to be testing themselves and every player is going to be competing for their position. We want to be competing against the best as we are one of the best in the world. We want to put our mark down.”

Jenny Murphy scores a try Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

While Murphy returns to the squad, there are five uncapped players included in Tierney’s panel.

The new faces include props Ciara O’Connor and Ilse Van Staden of Galwegians and Cooke RFC respectively, half-backs Ailsa Hughes and Jemma Jackson plus former Clare GAA star Eimear Considine, who has more recently represented Munster and Ireland Sevens.

“It’s great that we still don’t know what our starting team is,” Murphy continued. “It’s about tweaking, fixing and sharpening. I think we just want to get our game plan right.

“It’s sharpening the claws I guess so this Six Nations we’re aiming to win it. If you’re in the competition, that’s what you want to do first and foremost and then after that we can build on that. The World Cup is around the corner but personally I haven’t been thinking about that.

“Yes it’s going to be great to have a home World Cup but I don’t want to get ahead of myself — take game by game and that has worked for us before so why change now?”

The 27-year-old has been here and done it all before but after an extended period on the sidelines is now hungry and determined to help Ireland start a massive year on the right note.

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“It’s exciting, obviously I’ve been out for a little while so some of the stuff he’s bringing in is new but he’s asking us to maybe push our comfort levels in areas we haven’t really excelled at before. It’s exciting and if we execute it right it will be a nice brand of rugby to watch as well.

Jenny Murphy Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“I’m absolutely delighted to be back. The relief is probably the first thing I felt even coming back training and then getting back into camp with the girls. It’s a physical step up and they’ve been so understanding throughout the whole thing. You just want to play with the team at this stage.

“It wasn’t nice being injured for that length but it’s part and parcel of rugby I guess. I was just lucky I had a really good support base around me and Tom, the medical staff and assistant coaches were very patient in managing the injury and they’ve given me confidence. I’ve been easing myself back in but now it’s full steam ahead.”

Away trips to Scotland and Italy are the first two assignments before a home game against France at Donnybrook.

“We’re confident going into it. We’ve done a lot of prep and it’s always nice to have France and England at home as a home crowd does make a difference.

“Last year it was great to see the crowds so fingers crossed I’m not going to be in the crowds this year. The support has been immense. Obviously playing in Dublin is great and it attracts more numbers to the game.

“I’m just looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd and for those teams travelling over, they’re going to get a taste of what it’s like to play here ahead of the World Cup.”

Jenny Murphy was speaking at the Sky Sports Academy Inspiration Day at the new National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown this week. Sky Sports Living for Sport, in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust is part of Sky Academy which works with young people from primary school right through to the start of their career, using a shared passion for TV, creativity and sport, to build skills and experience.

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