Jordi Murphy says lack of fans has helped Ulster on road
Ulster flanker Jordi Murphy says the absence of crowds has negated any home advantage this season as Dan McFarland’s side prepare to face Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Friday night.
Last season Ulster went to Murrayfield and beat Edinburgh with the last kick of the game in the Pro14 semi-final, while this season in knockout rugby Ulster have gone to the Stoop and Franklin’s Gardens and been victorious against Harlequins and Northampton to book their place in the last four of European Challenge Cup, with all three games played behind closed doors.
The semi final draw wasn’t kind as for a third consecutive round Ulster are on the road against English Premiership opposition to face the Tigers for a place in the final,
Normally for such a huge game Welford Road would have over 25,000 fans creating a hostile environment for the visitors but due to Covid restrictions once again there will be no crowd.
Murphy, a Champions Cup winner in his time at Leinster, feels not having home fans negates the travelling.
“Definitely the whole home advantage thing has been brought back a little bit with no crowds, but it’s just about bringing your own energy and your own buzz to it,” he said.
“There have been a couple of times this season where we’ve been really loud and vocal and other times when we haven’t.
“Even if it is one or two per cent when you’re making that extra effort to enjoy the small victories and back each other up, I think that goes a long way.
“That’s something we’ll have to bring, a lot of energy and a lot of voices.”
Murphy joined Ulster after helping Leinster win their fourth European Champions Cup. In 2018, he also won three Pro Rugby titles with his native province.
His move to Ulster raised a few eyebrows at the time but as he closes in on 50 appearances in the white shirt, the recently turned 30 year-old admits helping the Kingspan Stadium side to silverware and ending the 15-year trophy drought would be one of the highlights of his career.
“When I came here, I suppose Ulster weren’t in a great place, there had been a lot of turmoil.
“When I came in here, people were kind of saying ‘you seem to be the only one jumping on this sinking ship’.
“But as soon as I was in the door, I realised the potential that this squad and this group had.
“Also the coaching staff we had, you could just tell from day one, they were so positive about everything and the way they coached was just brilliant.”
“Look, we’ve come close the last number of years, but fallen short.” A message from the Editor:
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