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Murphy reflects on “amazing journey” after Grand Slam

Murphy reflects on “amazing journey” after Grand Slam

Ireland celebrate winning the Under 20 Six Nations championship

Ireland head coach Richie Murphy said he is delighted with how his group of players developed during their Grand Slam-winning campaign in the Six Nations Under-20s.

The 2022 Championship winners sealed the third clean sweep in their history at this level with an impressive 59-5 victory against Scotland at Musgrave Park, in which they scored nine tries.

From the moment Charlie Tector converted Ben Brownlee’s last-minute try to snatch victory against France in Round 2, Ireland never looked back, with their free-scoring game making them an irresistible force.

The Ireland team celebrate as 2022 Under-20 Six Nations champions

Clinching the Grand Slam in Cork never really looked in doubt, as they quickly established a lead before showing a ruthless approach in making sure the Scots could not threaten a comeback.

Murphy, whose team were denied a clean sweep by England in last year’s Championship, said: “It’s an amazing feeling. It’s amazing, the journey these lads have been on over the last couple of months.

“At the start of the Six Nations, we were working really hard just to make sure we got off to a good start and it’s amazing how that has sort of fed into this over the last five games.”

Ireland’s forward pack have given Ireland a great platform for what has turned out to be a glorious campaign, but their ability to finish their chances is what made them a class apart.

Their final-day haul took their tally for the Championship up to 29 tries from their five games, with only the French preventing them from registering a bonus point.

Richie Murphy celebrates after the game with Lar Hogan

Murphy said: “We’re trying to play fast, we’re trying to play into space and the guys are well able to carry as well, so it’s a combination that’s made us quite hard to defend against.

“It’s funny because today we scored some brilliant tries, but there are some things we left behind, but we’ll worry about that another day.”

Murphy credited that dramatic 17-16 victory against France in Aix-en-Provence last month for what developed his side’s winning mentality, which saw them sweep aside defending champions England in Round 4.

“They’re a very close-knit bunch,” Murphy said, adding: “I think that really galvanised them, going to France and winning over there.

“They knew then what was ahead of them, so they really bonded, really tightly.

“It’s amazing to see the provincial barriers that have been broken down – even today, when I walked in for breakfast, all the lads sitting at different tables, great bit of banter going on. They’ll have a fun night tonight.”