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Johne Murphy senses Ireland "pivot shift" as Japan looms

Ireland's are half-way through their two toughest Rugby World Cup pool games. After dispatching S...



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Johne Murphy senses Ireland "pivot shift" as Japan looms


Ireland's are half-way through their two toughest Rugby World Cup pool games. After dispatching Scotland emphatically, hosts Japan await on Saturday. 

Win that and Ireland will just need get through assignments against pool outsiders Samoa and Russia are. One would assume, Joe Schmidt's side would do the necessary and top the pool, setting up a quarter-final against South Africa, who lost their head-to-head with New Zealand.

Ex-Munster and Leicester player Johne Murphy joined us to preview the Japan game and he feels a welcome "pivot shift" in the Irish side's mentality.

"Over the last two weeks, I just think there's been a complete pivot shift in what they're doing and how they're going about their business," he said.

"I know it's very cliched, but they are literally game-by-game-by-game and that is it. They know they want to be playing in the final weekend and to hold their rank as No 1 in the world."

In regards to the immediate challenge ahead, Murphy feels Japan will feel pressure as the home side.

Pressure Game

But with Ireland's "pressure game", he expects Japan to "crack first".

"It's to manage that and know that [Japan] are going to come out very high tempo and very aggressive at the contact," he said.

"So manage that in the first 10-15 minutes and then try to put the pressure back on them."

The most high profile Ireland selection call is Jack Carty starting at 10 with Johnny Sexton rested.

"He's probably in between where Joey is and Johnny is in terms of it's a nice mixture of that maverick style with his chip kicks and taking the ball to the line, looking for those off-loads, and being able to control a game," said Murphy.

"I think he's done incredibly well over the last period of time, since he's been involved."

He also added that Carty and other fringe players' willingness to play off-the-cuff is a sign of confidence.

"When you see guys coming off the bench, having performances like that and doing those things individually, it's like this environment is... they have the confidence and belief that they can do it. But also know that the environment wants to see that. That's my biggest take from last weekend."

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Ireland Jack Carty Japan Johne Murphy Off The Ball Rugby Rugby World Cup