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Rory Best hopeful that Jordi Murphy can continue at World Cup ahead of scan today

Jordi Murphy of Ireland (Donnal Farmer/PA)
Jordi Murphy of Ireland (Donnal Farmer/PA)

By Jonathan Bradley in Kobe

Ireland skipper Rory Best remains hopeful that his Ulster colleague Jordi Murphy will play further part in this World Cup despite sustaining a rib injury against Russia on Thursday.

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The back-rower was only called out as an injury replacement for Jack Conan last weekend but his tournament bow lasted all of 27 minutes in Kobe.

Murphy will have a scan later today before finding out the severity of the damage.

"You don't like to see anyone going home, it was the same last week with Jack," said Best. "You understand that it's part and parcel of rugby, especially in World Cups, because you only have 31 players. You can't afford to hang on to somebody and hope they will be alright in a week or two. You don't have that luxury of time.

"From our point of view, Jordi is a great guy to have out here. He's very popular among the squad and he's a fantastic player. For us, we want to keep all our best players out here and it would be a real shame if there was something. But we can only take it for what it is. A rib is one of those things that sometimes looks a lot worse and a lot more painful coming off the pitch than it actually is. Hopefully, that will settle down pretty quickly."

While the news on Murphy certainly put a dampener on proceedings, Ireland's performance in the 35-0 win over the tournament's lowest ranked side did little to lift the mood. The captain, held to a watching brief with Niall Scannell starting and Sean Cronin being used off the bench, admitted the showing was far from perfect but added that was to be expected with confidence having been knocked by defeat to Japan in the previous outing.

"When you lose a game – and it’s the same with every team I’ve been involved in – when you look across the board and you chat to other players and teams over the years – whenever you lose a game and you go from being supposedly contenders in the first game to useless in the second game, ultimately it’s always going to affect the confidence a little bit, but I think we bounced back well and I think this group understands what we need to do to play well."

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When asked precisely what that is after two sub-par outings, Best was naturally focused on the error rate that has seen the side turnover the ball far too frequently since beating Scotland in the opener.

"For us, it's basics," he said. "You look at that Japan game, we turned the ball over a bit too much, our breakdown wasn't as effective as it normally is and our pressure and territory game weren't as strong. I think they were really good in the first quarter but, whatever happened, we just eased back on that.

"It's mostly the unforced errors. When we were 12-3 up, we had a few opportunities and we turned the ball over cheaply, gave away penalties, there was one time with a kick through where we had them in the worst place you can be in rugby on the right, that ruck 5m and 5m from your own line, and we gave away a penalty. "They kicked, have a very strong lineout and a couple of penalties later, you're in your own half.

"They're all little things that when we're playing at our best... you're never going to have a perfect game of rugby, as much as you strive and train to get it, you're not going to have it... but what we did really well against Scotland was that when we made a mistake, we backed that up with something positive. With Japan, we allowed ourselves to make a couple of mistakes before we then tried to fight back, or we had one good moment and didn't back it up with another good moment. "They're the basics of our game that when they go well, we go well."

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