Having watched Ireland’s Rugby World Cup opener from the Millennium Stadium stands, Jordi Murphy is itching to be involved in next Sunday’s second pool match against Romania.
Ten players made their World Cup debuts for Ireland in the 50-7 victory over Canada, and a further seven tournament newcomers are hoping to be involved against the Romanians at Wembley Stadium.
Jordi Murphy is in the latter category and the 24-year-old, who has won nine of the 12 Tests he has played to date, is targeting a back row spot this weekend.
“I’m raring to go. I found it tough watching the lads playing. Obviously it was a great result and they played very well. It’s just one of those things – only 23 can play on the day and it’s a 31-man squad here,” he said.
“Hopefully, if I get on this weekend, or sometime soon, I’ll take it with both hands. When I get the chance I’ll try and go out and put my hand up and give the coaches a bit of a selection headache.”
The Leinster back rower’s versatility is certainly a big plus for him, with run-outs in the number 6 and 7 shirts in the two recent warm-up clashes with Wales. Three of his Ireland starts have seen him anchor the scrum at number 8 – against Argentina during the 2014 summer tour and in the Six Nations wins over Italy and England earlier this year.
Although Romania are ranked 17th in the world and winless in eight Test meetings with Ireland (the last being a 43-12 defeat at Lansdowne Road in November 2005), Murphy knows the current Oaks side boasts some quality operators.
He added: “Analysis of Romania started straight after the (opening) game. They’ve got some pretty impressive players. A lot of them play in France, especially in the pack – the likes of (Paulica) Ion, (Mihaita) Lazar and their skipper (Mihai) Macovei. They’re certainly not to be underestimated.”
Coached by Welshman Lynn Howells, Romania open the tournament against France at London’s Olympic Stadium on Wednesday (kick-off 8pm) and have a quick turnaround before facing Ireland at Wembley on Sunday (kick-off 4.45pm).
Their captain Macovei, a robust and versatile back rower who plays for Colomiers, is hoping his side can achieve automatic qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. To do so, they require a third place finish in the pool.
Playing in his second World Cup, the 28-year-old said: “We’ll do our very best and we hope to raise the standard of our game. I believe that this will be the best World Cup ever.
“Our collective goal is to win two matches and thereby qualify automatically for the 2019 tournament. Our target is to beat Canada and Italy. I know this will be difficult, particularly the Italy match, but nothing is impossible.”