Leinster's Jordi Murphy says Ireland debut is a dream come true
Last Updated: 06/06/14 6:10pm
Joe Schmidt: Ireland coach has left flankers Peter O'Mahony and Sean O'Brien out of the Argentina tour so they can rehabilitate for next year's World Cup
Leinster back-row forward Jordi Murphy says his first Ireland start, against Argentina on Saturday, represents a dream come true.
And the 23-year-old number eight is desperate to repay the faith of the coaches, who have selected him in the pack for the opening Test against the Pumas in Resistencia.
Murphy has collected two caps from the bench in Six Nations action but has been given an opportunity to make his mark from the start against an Argentina side renowned for their forward power.
He will pack down alongside fellow debutant Robbie Diack and flanker Chris Henry, who are team-mates at Ulster.
Murphy, who was born in Barcelona before his family moved back to Ireland when he was eight, said: "It's my first start for Ireland so I'm really excited about that.
"I'm just looking to repay the faith the coaches, Joe Schmidt especially, have shown in me to give me that first start.
"One of the dreams you'd have growing up is to play for your country.
"I had two games off the bench for Ireland but I've been looking for that start and I'm really excited for now and I'm going out to make the most of it and leave a mark."
Ireland play two Tests against Argentina this month and then three Autumn Internationals before next spring's Six Nations tournament.
Murphy is fully aware of the limited opportunities he will have to cement a place in next year's World Cup and the fierce competition for places that will exist with so many other new players being drafted into the squad.
"I suppose it is a building block to the World Cup," he said. "There are about 10 games to go before then, so we really have to set our stall out and with the new faces coming in, put our name in the hat for then.
"It's exciting times. We are high in confidence and there is a good buzz through the squad so we are really looking forward to this weekend."
There is likely to be some experimentation on the Argentina side too, with no European-based players selected for the Pumas, who have never lost to Ireland on home soil.
Despite that, Murphy is ready for a typically stern physical challenge on his full debut.
"They are an incredibility combative side," he said. "Really hungry, come at you from all angles really.
"And you just can't knock off at all because they are a big team. They really punch on opportunities if they think you switch off at all.
"We've watched a lot of their game tape and a lot of their tries come from team knocking off or knock-ons and they just pounce on the ball and play quickly and get their tries.
"So they are just a really combative, aggressive side and we'll have to meet that."
Watch Argentina v Ireland live from 7:30pm on Saturday on Sky Sports 1HD