10 Dec, 12:55
Munster A face Plymouth Albion at Waterford's Regional Sports Centre this Friday in the British and Irish Cup (ko 7:30pm).
"Aah I was never a Blues supporter. Always red," says the son of the man who was on the bench in that famous victory over the All Blacks. "We lived in Meath but would have taken a lot of trips down south to watch matches. We never went to Dublin to watch a Leinster match unless Munster were playing them. I would always, through my father had a proud support of Munster."
Nor was he a Meath supporter in Gaelic. "No, it was Cork for me," he says with a chuckle going on to explain an early nomadic existence. "I was born in Ballineen in West Cork. I was there for about a year. We emigrated to the States for a couple of year's with Dad's work and then came back to Meath because a branch of the company he worked for was in Virginia, just up the road from where we'd bought a house in Kells. But my Cork roots were well embedded by then."
He got his early rugby grounding in Navan RFC, ended his secondary education in St.Muchin's, did his third level in UCC and has remained in Cork since.
A regular in the Munster side up to Christmas either on the wing or full-back, things started to go awry at the start of 2010. "I picked up an injury (hamstring) in the Pool game against Treviso. The timing in a way was probably good in that it was just before the Six Nations so there wasn't too many games and it gave me a chance to try get back in. Then when I did, I tore it again against Glasgow and was out again for four weeks. So for about two and a half months maybe it was hit n miss."
"But I was pretty lucky, sure there was a lot of injury throughout the squad and that gave me the chance to play in the semi final and I was coming back from injury. Its never going to be easy for every player to go through a full year without any bit of an injury. It's happened but at least I've kept my form or hope I have. "
"A lot of credit has to go to our medical staff, to the physios and nutritionist. There was three weeks there when I was sitting on a couch with an ice machine. But everything was sorted out nutrition wise all day long. It was a boring few weeks but it got me back playing. "
And getting back to more immediate matters and the game against Leinster on Saturday, the very personable Hurley says, "I'd say we're pretty optimistic."
"I'd say a lot of our heads were a bit down last week after the semi final it's a hard hit to take. We're probably refreshed now that we've made the Magners semi final and glad to have the opportunity to play Leinster again as well."
"I suppose the way the season has gone we haven't really performed to a level we would have liked against the home provinces, Connacht excepted. So this is an opportunity to maybe put that to bed before the end of the season."
"It's an opportunity, nothing more. But one we're looking forward to."
Nor will Munster's recent record against Leinster or indeed his own be a factor. "I've only started two, both up in the RDS. Lost both of them. So I suppose it's nothing really new to me personally."
"Games between us are always battles and we haven't been on the front foot in recent times. From game to game, when we do meet, anything can happen and that's the way we have to approach it this weekend again."
"We know what they bring. I know how hard it is to me personally to suffer those defeats up there. But this weekend we have to go in there with a positive frame of mind that we have every chance."
As to which position he prefers, wing or full-back? "There's no preference really at this point. This is my first full season playing wing and I'm enjoying it. I still love playing 15 as well. I just enjoy a bit of freedom if I'm involved in any way at all it doesn't matter as long as I'm getting a bit of ball."
And of course the inevitable question of entertaining hopes of a summer trip to the southern hemisphere? "Listen, that's out of my hands like. I'm lucky to be back playing and if the coaches decide to bring me of course I'll be delighted."