Home Rugby Jordi Murphy: The Best Of Both Worlds When It Comes To Rory’s Captaincy

Jordi Murphy: The Best Of Both Worlds When It Comes To Rory’s Captaincy

A lot of questions were asked of this Ireland squad in the lead-up to the ongoing Rugby World Cup in Japan. 

A poor showing in the Six Nations was compounded when England dropped 57 points on Joe Schmidt’s side last month in Twickenham.

A lot of criticism was levied at the team, but outgoing captain Rory Best seemed to shoulder the brunt of it due to their malfunctioning lineout and question marks over the Ulster hooker’s durability at 37 years of age.

However, Best was one of the standout performers in Ireland’s 27-3 victory over Scotland in Sunday’s World Cup opener.

rory best

The Ulster man, who became Ireland’s oldest ever World Cup participant on Sunday, also played the full 80 minutes for Joe Schmidt’s side much to the surprise of many.

However, while it may have come as a surprise that Best played the full game in Yokohama, according to Ireland and Ulster teammate Jordi Murphy, those in the know are fully aware of Best’s capability to last a full 80 minutes.

“Incredible,” surmised Murphy when reflecting on Best’s performance.

“It’s funny because everyone who plays with him and works with him knows he’s more than capable of putting in those 80-minute performances. I suppose he’s been knocked back a bit in the media in the last while but that just shows you the strength of character in the man that he’s able to come out and lead the team in a World Cup game.

rory best

“In a really important fixture against pool rivals Scotland, to put in an 80-minute performance like that and play out of his skin, I think it’s great.”

Best was Murphy’s captain throughout his first year north of the border with Ulster and lead the team for the majority of the Killiney man’s 27 international caps.

The Leinster native described playing under Best as “a real privilege” because he is able to lead with both his actions and his words.

“I’ve seen him day in, day out. He’s captained me quite a few times with Ireland before I moved up to Ulster and it’s a real privilege because some captains’ lead by example and some lead with the way they talk but he does both.

rory best

“He seems to always say the right thing at the right time. He manages referees really well when emotions are heightened which happens very easily in rugby. He is able to come in and calm everybody down but he also backs it up with his actions.”

Despite not currently being part of the squad, Murphy hopes that the long-serving Ulster man can go out on a high after an incredible career with both his province and with Ireland.

“He’s been a fantastic servant and I’m just hoping all the best for him in this tournament and that he can go out on a high.

“He’s a big loss to Ulster but we should just be grateful for the time we had him. I was just lucky enough to have him for one season as my skip but he did 17 or 18 seasons with Ulster which is just incredible.

rory best

“To put in that many games and that many quality performances in the front row in this day and age, it’s just incredible.”

Another one of Murphy’s teammates who faced backlash in the run-up to Japan was try-scoring sensation Jacob Stockdale.

The flying Ulster winger was castigated over a lack of defensive nous, in particular, after that defeat to England in Twickenham.

However, the Lurgan man answered many of his critics yesterday with two beautiful defensive reads that lead to a couple of massive hits on Stuart Hogg.

Murphy feels that Stockdale (and other wingers) can sometimes bear the brunt of other’s mistakes but that ultimately the ‘world-class’ winger is able to take the criticism on the chin and use it to his advantage.

“Definitely, it’s something that most players are working on the whole time (growing defensively) but unfortunately sometimes when you are stuck out on the wing it can be very obvious then. Sometimes he can get the blame for something that’s happened one or two phases before.

“Look he’s one of those players that just has that bouncebackability every single time. He was under pressure after the England game and then he comes out and puts in the performance he did against Wales.

“Then today (Sunday) he knocked back some of the doubters again, some of the defensive reads were just top quality. Scotland looked like they had a sniff and he shut the door on them.

“But that’s just the type of player he is, he’s taken some knocks in confidence and because he’s such a big player it seems to always be in the public spotlight but he just turns it around and performs the next week, he’s just world-class.”

About Michael Corry

Sports Journalist based in Dublin. Hit me up if you have a unique story to tell. Email: michael@punditarena.com Twitter: @Corry_10 Instagram: @Corry_10