How do you pick yourself up after the high of beating the world champions for the first time on Irish soil? That is the challenge for skills coach Richie Murphy and the rest of the Ireland staff as they begin preparations for the visit of the USA on Saturday.
Murphy was speaking to the media today at Ireland’s base in Carton House as he fielded questions on how Ireland get themselves back up for the final Test match of this window.
We are almost certain to see numerous changes to the team that beat the All Blacks, confirmed as much by the news that seven players have returned to their provinces. Kieran Marmion and Dan Leavy were two of those players and it has subsequently been revealed that they are suffering from ankle and neck injuries, respectively.
Jordan Larmour is another player who has left the squad and returned to his province but Murphy confirmed that the youngster is not injured, just merely “beaten up”.
“No, he’s just gone back, he was involved with the first three games,” Murphy said. “We’ve just released him back. He’s a little bit beaten up like a lot of guys over the last couple of weeks, but there is no injury there. He should be fine.”
That will come as a relief to Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster but the same can’t be said for Connacht head coach Andy Friend, who learned that Marmion will be out until February with an ankle injury which he has been managing for a while.
“Kieran [Marmion] has been carrying an injury for the last couple of weeks. he’s been fine and has been obviously able to get through the games no problem. It happened…I think it goes back to the Ulster game and from that on he re-hurt it against Argentina. It’s not great for Connacht because he is going to miss out for a couple of weeks but it was thought that it was the right time to fix it up and be ready for what’s coming up in the New Year.
“He was fine during the games. He rolled it against Argentina and came off soon after that. It’s just an ankle injury that needs to be cleaned up a little bit.”
Murphy confirmed that those who have remained in camp are all fit and are in contention for the USA clash.
“Everyone that’s in here [Carton House] is ready to train and play at the weekend. Obviously, there will be some changes in the team because some guys have been released back. It’s a great opportunity for us to see the guys who helped prepare the team over the last couple of weeks.”
Murphy has no fear of there being a lull after the incredible high that comes with beating New Zealand and he acknowledges that there will be a lot of motivation for those who have played a minimal part, on the pitch at least, thus far in this November window.
“No, I don’t think so [lull after Saturday]. We’re delighted beating the ABs but in this place, things move on very, very quickly and there was a review of things that we felt we could have done better, a review of things that we thought we done well.
“Then that’s parked and we move on to the USA. It’s another Test match and guys who will come into the side and into the 23 have a lot to prove for themselves. The page turned very, very quickly in here and we’ve moved on to the next task.”
Ireland v USA kicks off at 6.30 pm on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium.