Jenny Murphy: 'I still want to play at a high level', says Ireland centre after sabbatical

Jenny Murphy
Jenny Murphy scored against Wales in Cardiff in November

Jenny Murphy says she remains determined to play rugby at the highest possible level after making her Barbarians debut in November.

The centre took a sabbatical from international rugby after host nation Ireland's World Cup exit in 2017.

After recently recovering from injury, the 31-year-old says she could move to New Zealand for a fresh challenge.

"I still want to play at a high level, and if it's not here then I'll find somewhere else," she said.

Since stepping away from the international set-up, Murphy has been playing club rugby with Old Belvedere and Leinster, however an injury-plagued spell left the Dublin native on the sidelines for 18 months.

After returning to the pitch, Murphy received her first Barbarians call-up in November - alongside fellow Ireland internationals Anna Caplice, Sene Naoupu and Paula Fitzpatrick - against Wales at the Principality Stadium.

Murphy, who touched down alongside Caplice in the 29-19 victory in Cardiff, says her Baa-baas experience reignited her flame for the sport.

"It was a really nice buzz to get back playing after being away with injury," Murphy told Sportsound Extra Time.

"You realise why you're playing in the first place, and Old Belvedere and the Barbarians definitely helped me realise that."

New Zealand 'on the bucket list'

Murphy feels she needed a break from Ireland duty to focus on her career as "rugby was kind of eating into everything".

"It was such a privilege to be able to play for your country and with people that you love, but I just needed to enjoy it again and the break was to fix that," she added.

"Unfortunately I got injured playing with my club, so I was out for 18 months and managed to get back. I haven't got the call-up for Ireland yet, so that's fair enough."

After her Barbarians experience, Murphy had planned to travel to New Zealand to play rugby, however, like the plans of many, the Covid-19 pandemic put that on hold.

"New Zealand seemed like a good idea. A lot of the girls on the Barbarians were Kiwis, absolutely lovely individuals," she said.

"They were all encouraging me to head out and give it a crack. At the moment I don't know what the plan is, but it's on the bucket list to cross off before my knees stop functioning.

"Hopefully I'll be able to get out there before Christmas and play some southern hemisphere rugby."

Jenny Murphy
Murphy (left) helped Ireland to Six Nations glory in 2015

After her injury lay-off, Murphy says she is grateful that she is able to get back out on the pitch again and enjoy her passion.

"There's times on the pitch where I look around and take everything in. It is something really cool that not many people get to do," she says.

"I've been able to work hard and get back from any injuries. Not too many people are able to do that, whether the injuries have been too severe or the medical attention that they've got isn't good enough.

"You should count yourself so lucky that you're in these boots and you're able to do it."

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