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Murphy: Cup games gave me confidence to kick on

Leicester Tigers assistant coach Geordan Murphy says it is competitions like the brand new Premiership Rugby Cup that gave him the 'confidence' to kick on in his own rugby career and become a Premiership player.

Speaking exclusively to LeicesterTigers.com about the newest addition the English Rugby calendar, the club legend turned coach says it is an 'exciting' prospect for the next generation of players and coaches to be a part of, providing a chance for both groups to show their ability at senior level.

"It is pretty exciting to be breaking new ground in the Premiership Rugby Cup this year," he said. "The competition is a good chance for young guys to get some game time and put in a good performance, give a good account for themselves and push for Premiership selection.

Looking back on his own career, which finished with the Irish-born outside back representing Leicester on more than 300 occasions and being capped for Ireland in more than 70 Tests, Murphy gave a glowing endorsement of the Cup competitions value.

"My debut for Tigers in 1997 was in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Cup, which is effectively this competition, against Rotherham and that gave me my very first step on the ladder as a player," said Murphy.

"I was incredibly proud of that, being able to play alongside guys I saw as Tigers legends, and I played in that competition for a few years and it did me the world of good and gave me the confidence to kick on and be a Premiership player."

Geordan Murphy

The Tigers skills coach also believes it provides an opportunity for supporters to learn more about the next generation, who they will be seeing in the top grade for Leicester in years to come.

"I think for the fans who know rugby, they want to be on the front line and see the next generation of players coming through their club to know what they will see in 2-3 years time in the senior team," he said.

"For me, it's extremely exciting for everyone involved - players, coaches and supporters."

Murphy has taken the reins of the Leicester Tigers Cup team over the last few years and even guided the side to glory in 2017 when a side that included young-guns Ellis Genge, Harry Wells, George Worth and Ben White lifted the Anglo-Welsh Cup at The Stoop following a 16-12 victory over Exeter Chiefs.

"It has been great the last couple of seasons for me and the other young coaches as a developmental tool to take control of things."

Geordan Murphy

The prospect of silverware is however not all the competition offers according to Murphy, who believes it's the prospect of consistent game time for all players that is of most value to the group.

"It is great in that it allows guys who haven't had time on the pitch, whether it be young players or guys coming back from injury, to be able to play in a 2-3 week block," he said. "At the same time, it allows whoever is in need of a rest to have a few weeks off.

"It's also very exciting for us as coaches too as we get that chance to try a few new things and take control of the side, putting our own twist on it.

"It has been great the last couple of seasons for me and the other young coaches as a developmental tool to take control of things."

"Looking back to last year, I think one of my favourite nights ever as a coach at Tigers was the away loss at Bath. I was hugely proud of that performance from such a young outfit against a much more experienced Bath side."

With the 2018/19 Premiership Rugby Cup fixtures released earlier this month, Murphy admits it will be no easy task for Tigers beginning with one of European Rugby's most difficult away trips.

"There are some tough fixtures in there for us this season, beginning with an away trip to Saracens," he said.

"Followed by back to back games at home against Sale Sharks and Worcester, then an extra derby fixtures thrown in as well ... it will be tough."