Rugby World Cup 2011: Murphy banters with friend Castrogiovanni

Geordan Murphy
Murphy co-owns a restaurant with Italy prop Castrogiovanni

Ireland full-back Geordan Murphy is hoping to help ensure a World Cup exit for his business partner, Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni, on Sunday.

The Leicester team-mates own a restaurant together and they have been indulging in friendly banter in advance of Sunday's vital clash in Dunedin.

"The closer the game gets, I'm receiving more and more text messages from him," said Murphy.

"He's a good mate of mine. He's a fantastic prop."

Murphy added: "If you look at the shape of both of us, I tend to drink a lot of water and he tends to eat a lot of the food.

"He swears a lot at me in Italian and he's trying to teach me all the bad words. I'm not going to repeat them."

Castrogiovanni is known as one of the most destructive scrummagers in the game and Murphy joked that he has devised a cunning plan that will see Ireland nullify his threat.

"I'm thinking of leaving some baskets of chips in the corners of the changing room for him. That should do it.

"The amount he eats, it should distract him quite nicely."

Sunday's showdown will determine who progresses to the quarter-finals out of the Pool C rivals.

Ireland are 1/10 favourites to prevail after amassing 15 successive victories in the fixture, but Italy were denied only by a late drop-goal in their last meeting in February.

"It's the biggest game of the pool," said the Leicester full-back.

"After they lost to Australia, Italy said they're targeting this game.

"They've openly said they want to reach the quarter-finals, which basically means they're saying they want to beat Ireland.

"They've improved massively over the years. They're a serious side.

"They're a very physical side but they're playing some good football alongside that now."

Murphy started in Ireland's opening win over the USA and, after not featuring against Australia, was a second-half substitute in Sunday's win over Russia.