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Murphy: We Put Away A Very Good Team

Murphy: We Put Away A Very Good Team

Young back rower Jordi Murphy said that ‘winning breeds confidence’ after Ireland extended their winning streak to 10 matches by defeating England at the Aviva Stadium.

Jordi Murphy was still awaiting his first Leinster cap when Ireland last beat England in the 2011 RBS 6 Nations. Fast forward four years and Murphy looked right at home yesterday, deputising for the injured Jamie Heaslip in the Ireland number 8 jersey.

It was hard to tell that this was the 23-year-old’s first Championship start on home soil such was his effectiveness around the pitch, with a catalogue of tackles, three lineouts won and a couple of key involvements at the breakdown.

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He felt comfortable fronting up against the powerful English pack and coming out on top as a collective, including a solid set piece return, and it is clear that confidence in the Irish camp is high.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in the backroom staff, a lot of confidence in ourselves. They have a lot of confidence in us as well. Winning breeds confidence. We are just going to go back to the drawing board on Tuesday and just keep working hard and try to keep winning,” said Murphy, with an eye on the March 14 date with Wales.

Ireland led 9-3 at the break and gained the upper hand on the restart as Jonathan Sexton, the game’s controlling force for the opening 50 minutes, kicked his fourth penalty and then converted a peach of a try by RBS man-of-the-match Robbie Henshaw.

Twelve months previously England had fought back from 10-3 down to win by three points, but the manner in which Ireland held England try-less this time around was telling. Having been on the wrong end of defeats to the English at under-age level and in his first senior game last year, Murphy said it was brilliant to win against them.

“I think as a collective we should be pleased with ourselves. We put away a very good team. I thought we were in control for large parts of the game and that was thanks to the game-plan (that) they were drilling into us for the last two weeks.

“Obviously Johnny did a great job of pushing us through and then Mads (Ian Madigan) when he came on. I think we are all quite pleased with ourselves. We have two big games coming up but we can relax for the next few hours and go hard at it the next week.”

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt mentioned in the post-match press conference that the opportunity to win a Grand Slam does not come around very often. But Murphy and his team-mates will not be looking beyond Cardiff, with two ‘cup finals’ still to play in the final two rounds.

“We only look at one game at a time. That’s the thing about the Six Nations – it is ‘every game is a cup final’ beacuse you don’t want to lose a game. We can’t do anything about them now. We have to look at ourselves. We have a big game in two weeks’ time and that is what we are going to focus on.

“We didn’t win one (Grand Slam) last year. We won one in 2009 and before that, I don’t know how many odd years it was! It’s one of those things. There are two games to go and we’re going to think about it one at a time and not think about Grand Slams yet. We’ve just got to go to Wales and do the job.”

He saw his Leinster colleague Sean O’Brien go off in the first half with a suspected concussion. Tommy O’Donnell, who came in for O’Brien when he pulled up in the warm-up against Italy last month, was once more called upon and deliver another top class performance.

“Obviously it’s always a worry to see one of the boys go off, especially because we didn’t know what happened to him. Just the next thing he was going off, but Tommy did a fantastic job again, like he did over in Italy when Seanie went off even before the game.

“That is the thing about our squad. There is a lot of strength in depth. People come in, do a great job and Tommy did that today,” added Murphy.

The Barcelona-born forward has ticked a lot of boxes over the past year, at both provincial and international level, and was delighted to come through his toughest assignment to date in the green shirt.

“It was definitely the biggest test of my career so far and it’s great to be on the winning side, but I don’t really look at myself personally. I just look at the collective and the contribution I made to the collective effort. The fact we got a win, obviously I am very pleased with that. Just pleased all-round.

“I do feel comfortable at the level. Today was my seventh cap but that is one of the things that Joe drills into us. Even if you’ve got only got one or two caps in comparison to the likes of Jamie (Heaslip) who has 70-odd caps, you still have to go out and try and put out the same performance, and Jamie is a great person to emulate and even try and do better than.”