Jordi Murphy: ‘A trophy in any way, shape or form’ is Ulster’s goal this season

Backrower focused on ending team’s silverware drought and getting selected for Ireland

   Jordi Murphy  will miss Ulster’s   first game against  Glasgow Warriors next week, as he is still shaking off a foot issue which cropped up during the off-season. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Jordi Murphy will miss Ulster’s first game against Glasgow Warriors next week, as he is still shaking off a foot issue which cropped up during the off-season. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Of course we’ve heard all this before but, normally, it has to be teased out from Ulster players and usually with some reluctance. Not with Jordi Murphy though.

His hopes for the forthcoming season are not fudged but addressed firmly and directly with the need to finally end the province’s lack of silverware uppermost in his mind.

“I’m going to put it out there, a trophy, I don’t care what it looks like,” Murphy says of what he hopes will follow from this season.

“A trophy is what this squad needs and from the coaching ticket down to every single player we’ve put in a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day you’re judged by what you bring home.

“A trophy in any way, shape or form is what our goal is,” adds the 30-year-old backrower, well aware that as we head towards next week’s opening salvoes of the new-look, 16-team, United Rugby Championship, Ulster have not taken ownership of any title success since winning what was then the Celtic League way back in 2006.

Promising place

They have, at times, looked to be in a promising place regarding putting this dismal record to bed before always ultimately folding their tents and leaving the scene with losers’ medals at best.

Last season was a case in point when the northerners made it to the European Challenge Cup semi-finals before blowing a shot at the trophy at Leicester Tigers and meekly exiting the competition.

“I felt like we were pretty close last year and it was pretty gut-wrenching to fall short albeit in the semi-final stage with still a final to play,” Murphy stated.

“To feel that you could have been there and that you probably should have been there and [then] not done it was unbelievably disappointing.

“Dan [McFarland] has never hidden away from the fact that he wants us to be consistently competing for championships,” he added.

“Hopefully the boys will be able to look forward and see what is achievable as a group and for me that’s definitely some form of silverware.”

It appears that Murphy will not be part of the mix for next week’s first game, when Ulster host Glasgow Warriors, as he is still shaking off a foot issue which cropped up during the off-season.

“It’s just a bit of a tear but I turned the corner [recently] so hopefully I’ll be back in full training in the coming days and we’ll wait and see over the next couple of weeks.”

Though his prospects of adding to 30 Ireland caps do look rather remote, Murphy has not entirely given up hope and his form in the latter part of last season was notably consistent.

Ambition burns

Cleary his ambition still burns: “I rang him [Andy Farrell] at the end of last season just to see what he thought and he said he thought I’d been playing some good stuff, that he was going to go with this [particular] group for the summer window but that next year was a brand new page.

“I just have to try, firstly, to play regularly for Ulster and, secondly, put in some cracking performances where my name gets in those [Irish] selection meetings.”

Murphy was speaking at Premier Sport’s URC coverage launch in Belfast. Premier Sports will show every Ulster game live and will host more than 100 exclusive rugby fixtures throughout the URC. Premier Sports has also been awarded TV rights for the Republic of Ireland for the first time, expanding its coverage to bring together live coverage from each round to a wider rugby audience across the UK and Ireland.

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