Geordan Murphy is relishing the challenge of earning the right to wear the British & Irish Lions’ full-back jersey for the first Test against New Zealand on June 25.
Murphy watched Josh Lewsey produce a stunning man-of-the-match display in the Lions’ victory over the Bay of Plenty, but the Irishman has vowed to respond by raising the bar even higher against Taranaki on Wednesday.
"I always love challenges and for me personally I’d love to be playing in a Lions Test shirt, preferably at 15," said Murphy.
"So for me it was great that Josh played so well against the Bay. I thought his performance was fantastic.
"He was unblemished, he scored a couple of tries and laid one on (for Gordon D’Arcy) when he could have got a hat-trick, which was very unselfish of him.
"I was delighted to see him playing so well. If players like Josh set the bar so high for the rest of the guys then that will raise our game as players.
"If we want to get into the Test team we are going to have to play some fantastic rugby, so I’m looking forward to having a run out on Wednesday."
Murphy struggled to hit top form during the Six Nations and again for the Lions against Argentina in Cardiff.
But while Wednesday represents a bigger opportunity for Murphy, he is acutely aware that trying too hard to prove himself could end up being detrimental to his chances of winning a Test place.
"I suppose I learnt very early in my rugby career that the game isn’t all about scoring tries. It is about team performances," he said.
"It is obviously important to play well an that is always the aim when I step onto a rugby field, but there is no fear of me trying to do anything spectacular.
"It is more important that the team gets the win and I’d rather have an average performance with the team winning that a fantastic personal performance and a poor defeat."