EVERY time you get a new jersey you can’t help but get excited, and a lot actually goes into it that not a lot of people see because there is a lot of player input. Canterbury ask us questions about whether we want it looser or tighter. Some props tend to want it a bit looser and the backs want it tighter but we always seem to get there in the end!
They give us some shirts to test and wear in training and we tell them how they feel which is great from a player’s point of view. And hopefully for the fans too and I think this Ireland shirt is really smart, I particularly like the bit of gold around the crest and it fits well too.
Every time you get a new jersey it is always a proud moment and it always seems to be better than the last somehow. When you get a kit that fits well and you feel good in then you go out and on the pitch feeling better about yourself and feeling more comfortable. It’s those little things that help as a player and it might not seem it but that is so important, having a kit you feel good in.
Wearing your country’s shirt is amazing but to do it at a World Cup is awesome. I have 35 caps now and I can actually remember each and every one, they aren’t all grouped together, I can remember each one as an isolated experience and it is great to have such a great jersey to do it in.
When I look at pictures of players from back in the day I see how baggy the shirts were and I can’t imagine they felt great playing in those so we are very lucky nowadays with all the thinking that goes into it.
My first start for Ireland actually came at the World Cup in 2011 and it was against America on September 11 so it was special for lots of reasons. It was a bit surreal getting my first start in a World Cup game but the older guys like Paul O’Connell and Jonny Sexton really helped me out and calmed my nerves.
I didn’t think I played that well but I got through it and we won and it started my journey for my country so the World Cup is extra special for me and hopefully I can play my part this time around too and add some more memories.
My first Rugby World Cup memories would have to be the 2003 tournament. I was 13 or 14 at the time and I was started to get a proper interest in playing rugby then so I was glued to it. I don’t remember one particular moment but what I do remember is the whole buzz around the tournament and Ireland as a whole.
I come from a GAA background and it is the same with any sport really in Ireland – football, or golf when Rory McIlroy or Padraig Harrington are playing – the whole country just stops to support.
And that is what I remember most, people just stopping what they were doing to come together and cheer on their country. I can remember Brian O’Driscoll scoring that try against Australia in the corner, I remember being in awe of what he had just done.
In fact, that try probably spurred on my interest a bit more and made me want to play rugby internationally. I didn’t think at the time or picture myself playing at a World Cup but 2003 did give me more interest for sure and here I am now.
Conor Murray is a brand ambassador for Life Style Sports. The new range of Irish Rugby jerseys and training kit is now available in-store and online to purchase. Click here to get yours now and show your support for the boys in green. Together #ForVictory.