On his return to pre-season training with Munster, Johne Murphy reflected on a victorious Nations Cup campaign during which he captained Emerging Ireland to a 51-3 win over Uruguay.
Having already represented the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds and Emerging Ireland on numerous occasions prior to this summer, Johne Murphy went on to start all three of the Nations Cup victories over Russia (66-0), Uruguay (51-3) and hosts Romania (31-10).
Speaking about what the Emerging Ireland squad wanted to achieve from the tournament, the versatile Munster back told the province’s website: “It was an excellent experience that will stand to us going forward. From the very outset we wanted to put our best foot forward and win the competition, with the mantra of the tour being how many of the guys we could get into contention for next year’s World Cup.
“Going on the performances we put in across the tournament, hopefully there will be a few guys on the radar of Joe Schmidt and ultimately on the plane to England 2015.
“Anyone that’s been in any Irish camp will know that it’s all about the detail and knowing exactly where you’re going from phase to phase.
“That sets us up well as we return to Munster where the same level of detail and discipline is required. I’m only in my second day back but I’m expected to know the calls that we are running this afternoon.”
Murphy led Emerging Ireland to a comprehensive 51-3 victory over ‘Los Teros’ in a game which saw his Munster team-mates Paddy Butler (with a brace of tries) and Billy Holland cross the whitewash, as well as JJ Hanrahan and Ian Keatley making contributions through place-kicks.
“It (the captaincy) was totally unexpected and another great experience. For me, the main honour was leading such a quality group of players which included existing full internationals, together with a big number of younger lads who will certainly play many times for their country in the future.”
Did the captaincy bring added pressure to his game? “Not really. Last year I had a good season with the province so I felt I just need to maintain my form and lead through my performance on the pitch rather than psyching guys up in the dressing room beforehand.
“Opportunities and how they don’t come around very often was the main area I focused on while motivating the lads, and given the fact we won that day, I was happy with my approach.”
This year’s Nations Cup presented ten Munster players with the opportunity of getting to know new signing Robin Copeland before he came on board with the province.
Murphy admitted: “It was really great for Robin. I had the chance to get to know some of the Munster lads on tour before I came to the province, and from a personal point of view that makes it a lot easier, to have a few familiar faces on day one of a new gig.
“He’s someone who I think will go really well for us and the fact he was Player of the Tournament at the Nations Cup shows what a great addition he is to the squad. We can expect big things from Robin in the future.”