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Searching for form and fitness - Jordi Murphy working his way back to the top

It hasn’t been an easy couple of months for the Leinster flanker but he’s starting to move in the right direction again.

Murphy training with the Leinster squad on Tuesday.
Murphy training with the Leinster squad on Tuesday.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

APART FROM BEING called into train with the Ireland squad last week, Jordi Murphy has found himself in the international wilderness since the disappointment of last September’s World Cup exit.

The Leinster flanker has suffered a dip in form since returning to provincial duty after the tournament and before Christmas even admitted his performances haven’t been good enough.

Twelve months ago, he was firmly in Joe Schmidt’s thoughts as he helped Ireland to a second successive Six Nations title. Six months ago, he was part of the side which was on the cusp of achieving something no other Irish team had managed to do.

How things can change very quickly.

“Joe rang me before he announced the squad in early February and he just said the dip in form and I haven’t been playing to the level I can be at and other players have and they’re being rewarded for it and unfortunately I wasn’t going to be in the squad,” Murphy explained.

“The disappointment of going out in the World Cup when you’ve put so much time and effort into it. To leave on such a disappointing note affected me a bit and I’d never gone through that kind of situation before but I think I’ve learned from that.

Jordi Murphy Murphy spoke to the media yesterday. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

“You can’t kind of sit back and think about those things. We had a week off and then back in here [Leinster] and a few niggles here and there was keeping me from 100%. I think I’ve learned from that and hopefully it won’t happen again.”

Murphy was forced to bide his time as Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan forced their way into the reckoning ahead of him.

The 24-year-old featured just once for Leinster in the Pro12 before the turn of the year as he struggled with form and fitness.

But he’s come through the other side and now that he’s got a run of games under his belt, Murphy believes he’s heading in the right direction again.

“I think to be playing week in, week out has really benefited me,” the Irish international continued. “I went through a bit of a dip in form and that translated into not being selected and I suppose it’s disappointing I wasn’t involved in Ireland’s Six Nations squad, that’s obviously the peak every year, you want to be playing for your country.

“But as soon as I was told I wasn’t in the squad I had to put my full focus on Leinster and try and improve week by week and by no means do I think I’m there but I’m definitely on the up.

“Physically and mentally I’m getting there slowly but surely. I was carrying a few knocks and niggles for a while and that obviously never helps but slowly but surely getting there.”

The former Blackrock College man watched on at the weekend as his Leinster team-mate van der Flier made his Ireland debut at Twickenham and starred in a position Murphy had made his own not so long ago.

Jordi Murphy with Ulrich Beyers Murphy will be pushing for a start against Ospreys this weekend. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

He expressed his delight at seeing van der Flier perform so well on the big occasion but also admitted it adds as further incentive for him to rediscover his own form.

“It gives you more incentive, it’s one of the great things about Irish rugby, you do get rewarded for being in good form. Josh did really well at the weekend and has done really well all season so is thoroughly deserving of his cap and it just drives me on to get there again.

“Joe pinpointed things I could improve on and I have been trying and hopefully I’m rewarded.”

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Ryan Bailey

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