Sunday 25 June 2017

Alan Quinlan: You always target players but what Glasgow did to Conor Murray was cynical and dangerous

Conor Murray of Munster. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Conor Murray of Munster. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Alan Quinlan

First and foremost, the treatment Conor Murray received from the Glasgow players throughout Saturday's game was an absolute disgrace.

I've no problem putting pressure on opposition players but trying to target someone with clear intent is a different story.

When I played, you always targeted individuals; it's part of the process of trying to knock the best players off their stride. But what Glasgow were trying to do to Murray was cynical and, ultimately, dangerous.

Jerry Flannery said that Munster had highlighted it before the game, but even still he should have been given more protection.

Looking back at both incidents involving Jonny Gray and Josh Strauss, neither were as bad as they first looked. I was able to go into the analysis truck and look at the footage again. You could see the intention.

Trying to block the ball down is one thing but targeting a player's standing foot is just not on.

When Murray took a heavy knock in the second half, it looked to me that Tim Swinson led with his elbow but again, looking back on it, his elbow comes up afterwards. His elbow didn't catch him in the head, it was more head on shoulder.

There is no doubt that Murray did look a little dazed and with the new protocols, you would have liked to have seen him taken off the pitch straight away to undergo a HIA.

EPCR are looking for clarification for why Murray wasn't taken off which comes on the back of the George North incident and understandably questions are being asked.

It would have been better for him to have received the head assessment when he suffered the first knock. It would have been the safe thing to do and, in hindsight, Munster will feel that way.

No player wants to leave the field but Murray is a sensible guy and he walked off the pitch against Australia in 2014 when he suffered a head knock because he knew it was the right thing to do.

My gut feeling when he got up was that he was okay, but obviously there is a fine line between a player saying he is okay and what we see on the TV screens. Safety has to be the priority.

On Friday night, we saw Johnny Sexton go off for four minutes and successfully pass his HIA. The same should have happened with Murray.

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