Having played in four of Ireland’s Six Nations matches this year, Geordan Murphy is eager to continue his run in the squad when the new Irish coach is appointed. The Kildare man admitted this week: “I certainly feel I still have something to add to the team.”
Since Eddie O’Sullivan’s departure as Irish coach on Wednesday, March 19, a host of home and international coaches have been linked with the post.
From current Munster supremo Declan Kidney to Southern Hemisphere names like Jake White, John Mitchell and Pat Howard, Murphy’s former coach at Leicester Tigers.
Busy trying to help Leicester reach the Guinness Premiership play-offs, Murphy has not had too much time to think about the prospective new Ireland boss but he threw in his tuppence worth this week when on a short visit to Dublin.
“I haven’t been following it as in depth as I probably would have liked. At the end of the day, it doesn’t have too much to do with us – the players will have no say in who comes in,” said the full-back-cum-winger.
“Hopefully the new boss will still have room for me. That’s what the players are sorta thinking but you never know, at the end of the day.
“You want to think that your new boss will have new ideas, he’s going to be a good guy and you’re going to learn things.
“You want your boss to be the best. You don’t want him to come in and think he’s sub par. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who comes in, you’ve just got to keep playing and keep playing well.”
Under O’Sullivan, Murphy was in and out of the Ireland side in recent campaigns. But he remains determined to fight for a starting place, with his legs fresh enough for another few years at Test level.
“To be honest, I’m really enjoying my rugby at the minute but I’m not going to play forever. I’m only going to hopefully play for two or three more years.
“With the new coach coming in, who knows what he’s going to want to do? Personally, I certainly feel I still have something to add to the team,” the 30-year-old insisted.
Asked his opinion on the possibility of a caretaker coach being appointed for Ireland’s upcoming clash with the Barbarians and the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia, Murphy was open to the idea.
“Yeah, you just have to look at what’s the best for the team and the country. And if that’s what the IRFU deem the best course of action, then definitely (appoint a caretaker coach).
“It’s probably better to do that than to appoint someone who’s going to have to carry on and who they’re not happy with.
“If they have their sights set on someone who’s not available for a certain amount of time, then definitely appoint a caretaker coach.
“It might be an option to bed someone in and see how that goes – see what sort of style and what sort of ideas they bring to the table.”
Weighing up the coaching credentials of Kidney and Howard, he said: “I’ve worked with both of those guys before and I got on well with both of them. I thought they were both good coaches. If either of them got the job, I’d look forward to working with them.”
After less than memorable World Cup and Six Nations campaigns, Ireland slipped to eighth in the IRB World Rankings and the national set-up was evidently at a low ebb. Yet the performances of Munster in the Heineken Cup and Leinster in the Magners League have been encouraging.
Murphy agreed: “The provinces are doing very, very well at the moment. There’s a lot of very talented players in all the squads, it’s not a case for complete doom and gloom.
“Hopefully, when the new coach comes on board, he’ll have a lot of fit players, he’ll have everyone to choose from and he can piece together a gameplan and a style of play that suits him and suits the players he’s bringing into the squad.”
One player who Murphy feels could do a job for Ireland is his Leicester team-mate Johne Murphy. One of three Murphys at Welford Road – the third being former Munster scrum half Frank – Johne is the Tigers’ second top try scorer this season with seven touchdowns.
“Johne’s had a fantastic season this year. He’s playing really, really well. He came over from Lansdowne a couple of years ago, he was kinda carrying a couple of injuries,” Geordan explained.
“He had a bad knee op. He didn’t have a lot of treatment on that and he had his ACL reconstructed.
“All credit to him, he’s got a tremendous work ethic. He’s put on a lot of weight, he’s a big strong guy and he’s playing really well for us at the minute. I think Leicester are really happy to have him.”
The 23-year-old former Cill Dara clubman is certainly a bright prospect. Already capped by Ireland ‘A’, he looks set to be included in the ‘A’ squad again for the upcoming Churchill Cup tournament.
If Geordan Murphy had his way though, his young colleague would be given a chance in the senior squad for the tour Down Under.
“I think Johne’s good enough (to make the summer tour squad). There are some very good young players out there but I think Johne’s good enough. He’s played really well this season.
“I think you have to reward players who get into a team and play as well as he has. That would definitely be a stepping stone, I think he’s the future.
“I know there’s other good young back-three players out there – I don’t want to step on any of their toes – but Johne’s had a good season and should be rewarded in some sense.”
Click here to read Geordan Murphy’s thoughts on the Saracens v Munster game.