Murphy hopeful of playing bigger World Cup role after 'rollercoaster' week

The flanker is set to return to training on Thursday after suffering a rib injury against Russia.

TO DESCRIBE JORDI Murphy’s week as being a rollercoaster experience barely scratches the surface, yet the nature of tournament rugby means highs and lows can be par for the course at World Cups.

From the gutting disappointment of missing out on a place in Joe Schmidt’s original 31, Murphy was then thrown back into the mix when Jack Conan was forced to fly home, before it all threatened to come crashing down around the flanker again.

jordi-murphy Jordi Murphy at the team hotel in Fukuoka. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The good news is that the rib injury he sustained in the pool victory over Russia is not as bad as first feared and Murphy will remain with Ireland in Japan as they gear up for Saturday’s clash against Samoa.

After getting over the disappointment of his World Cup omission, Murphy had turned his attention to Ulster’s Pro14 season opener against Ospreys, before being pulled from Dan McFarland’s starting XV as news of Conan’s injury filtered back from the Far East.

Once Joe called, Murphy was on a plane to fly nearly 6,000 miles and link up with the rest of the Ireland squad the day after the seismic defeat to Japan, and he was then pitched in to start against Russia just days after touching down in Kobe.

“It has been a bit of a rollercoaster,” he says. “I was prepared to play the Ospreys Friday eight days ago and then I got a call from Dan McFarland saying that I was going to be pulled as a precaution — and the decision was going to be made after the Japan game.

“A couple of hours later I was flying over here, so it’s been, I suppose, an up and down week or so but I was delighted to be able to play last week. Obviously it was a bit short-lived but the damage isn’t too bad so I’m hopeful that I’ll get another opportunity at some stage in this tournament to help out the boys.”

Murphy’s game was cut short after just 26 minutes as he was forced off with a rib injury but the diagnosis is good and it is hoped the 28-year-old returns to full training on Thursday ahead of Ireland’s showdown with Samoa in Fukuoka.

“I didn’t think it was over, I was just incredibly disappointed at the fact that…I suppose initial disappointment at not making it and then getting the call and picking up something like that.

“I tried to play on but I knew that I wasn’t adding anything to the team and it’s not the kind of place you want to be. You want to be adding things to the team the whole time, you don’t want to feel like you’re not keeping up with everyone else. Unfortunately, that was the case at the time.

“I didn’t really know what the final diagnosis was going to be but it’s been positive so far so I’m just building into this week and hoping that I’ll train fully on Thursday.”

Murphy explained how he sustained the injury.

jordi-murphy The flanker speaking at today's press conference. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“The rib just popped. It was one of those things. I got caught between two people. I think one of them might have been Jean Kleyn and the other one was one of the Russian second rows so it was never going to end well for me. I just felt the pop go — a good bit of pain — and it popped back in after a few minutes and I thought, ‘Happy days’. And then it went again.

“Ribs are kind of annoying but you can definitely play on with them. I’ve just got to try and build into the rest of the week. If you go too hard too quick you can do a bit of damage to them, but I’ve been assured by doctors and through scans that nothing is too out of place or not functioning well enough, so I should be alright.”

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Having joined the camp after Ireland’s bitterly disappointing loss to Japan, Murphy has arrived full of confidence and believes the group are very optimistic heading into the serious business this weekend. 

“A lot of parts to the game we can definitely do better on but we got a win and five points and we’re going into this weekend optimistic,” he added.

“We’re all very positive, especially after a couple of days off. That’s probably the best thing that could have happened to the group. A couple of days off to clear the head, especially in a tournament like this where it’s just rugby 24/7.

“I really noticed that today when I was watching on at training — the energy and desire from all the boys.”

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Ryan Bailey

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