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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019

Murphy: Leinster need to squeeze on Ford pressure point like Ireland did

England out-half will be back in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday with Bath.

Sexton, right, flattened Ford during Ireland's win over England.
Sexton, right, flattened Ford during Ireland's win over England.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

LEINSTER NEED TO take a leaf out of Ireland’s book to shut down George Ford on Saturday.

The out-half was shortlisted for Player of the Six Nations after a breakout tournament that took England to the cusp of glory.

The 22-year-old has only tasted defeat once as an England starter — and that was against Ireland where he was hunted and pressed for 80 minutes by the home side.

Jordi Murphy has a similar plan in mind when Ford returns to the Aviva Stadium with Bath for the European Champions Cup quarter-final.

“We are going to have to [press him]. He’s a great player and he has shown that in the last few years.

“He’s really their go-to man in England and in Bath.

He’s obviously their number 10. They’re looking to him to get things going and that is one of the pressure points we are going to have to go after.

Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube

Murphy rejected the claim that Bath’s pack is their Achilles’ heel and pointed to the international experience among the Premiership club’s forwards.

“Absolutely not. They have a really good scrum, not just in the Champions Cup but the Premiership. They have put a lot of teams to the sword with it.

“They have Dave Attwood, who played most of England’s Six Nations games, Hooper, their leader in the pack and their captain, and Francois Louw, who has 30-odd South African caps.

“So, no, I don’t think we can bypass the Bath pack at all. That would be a big mistake from our point of view.

“We have to look at them as a collective. They have a lot of firepower out the back but they have some serious grafters up front.”

Jordi Murphy breaks free to score a try Murphy races free to score against Glasgow. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Murphy was among the tries as Leinster came from 20 points down to draw against Glasgow on Friday night.

A slow start saw Matt O’Connor’s side trail 27-7 at the break and while they recovered to score 24 points in an explosive 15 minutes, Murphy knows that the inconsistency needs to be addressed.

“We have been up and down at times. We have played some very good games and then there are games we have not been too happy with.

There are some things we’d like to think we have in the locker and we are going to try and perform for the full 80 minutes. We did not do that last Friday but it was a good run-out for us and Glasgow are a very good team.

“It was disappointing not to come away with the five points – we scored the four tries and were a few points clear near the end – but considering the lead they had a half-time, the draw was a fair result.

“We are definitely going to have to play the full 80 minutes and what better time to do it than this weekend?”

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Niall Kelly

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