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Murphy determined to make the most of opportunities at Leinster

Josh Murphy says that Ireland’s disappointing World Cup campaign won’t automatically result in more opportunities in the Leinster first team.

Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

DESPITE HARBOURING AMBITIONS to make the international grade, the ferocious competition for places at Leinster ensures that Josh Murphy isn’t taking anything for granted just yet.

The 24-year-old medical student has been selected in the back row – alongside fellow prospects Scott Penny and Max Deegan – for the blues’ Guinness Pro14 encounter with Zebre at Stadio Lanfranchi this evening.

While there is expected to be a changing of the guard in the coming years, Murphy admits it won’t make his job any easier and doesn’t believe the World Cup has tarnished the reputation of Leinster’s returning international stars.

“It’s always so competitive in here. No matter who steps aside or who isn’t available. If you don’t perform, you don’t get picked. Even the last few years, I’ve been trying to get lads to step aside the whole time. Get rid of them in training and move aside,” Murphy acknowledged in advance of his 25th Leinster appearance.

“If someones does step aside there’s another space, but there’s probably another six lads trying to go for that jersey. It’s a very competitive squad and it’s a big year. Never mind the next few years, I want to get on that team as much as possible. It’s tough, if anyone steps aside or not.

josh-murphy-and-ronan-kelleher Murphy during a Leinster training session in Donnybrook. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“I know what every player who has been away with Ireland has done. In no way have their reputations been tarnished. To me, they’re still team-mates that I want to get the jersey off. I in no way think I should be entitled to have them step aside just because of their age.”

Of the 20 Leinster starts Murphy has garnered to date, 18 have come at blindside flanker. He also displayed his versatility at the tail end of last season’s league campaign, featuring in the second row against Edinburgh and Ulster.

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Having watched former Australian international Scott Fardy switch effortlessly between both positions, Murphy is more than happy to go with the flow.

“I’ve played most of my rugby for Leinster at flanker, at six mainly. Played a bit of second row pre-season, loved that. Took a bit more out of the legs with scrummaging. I like playing either.

“They’re slightly different, but depending on the people that play that week it’s interchangeable. Scott Fardy plays five, six; the five-and-a-half role. It’s interchangeable with that too. The number on your back has certain implications, but it’s quite fluid in how you go about it,” Murphy added.

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