Tuesday 22 August 2017

'This Lions team can be better than the 2013 side' - Conor Murray

Conor Murray of the Lions breaks with the ball during the match between the Crusaders and the British & Irish Lions at AMI Stadium on June 10, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Conor Murray of the Lions breaks with the ball during the match between the Crusaders and the British & Irish Lions at AMI Stadium on June 10, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Jack O'Toole

British & Irish Lions and Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray has said that the 2017 Lions have the potential to be better than their 2013 counterparts after the tourists ran out convincing winners against the New Zealand Maori in Rotorua on Saturday.

The Lions dominant 32-10 win over the Maori's has put Warren Gatland's side in good stead ahead of next weekend's first Test against the All Blacks in Auckland, with Murray putting in a solid performance alongside Ireland teammate Johnny Sexton.

The Munster scrum-half is the front-runner to start next weekend's opening test, and while the All Blacks are favoured to topple the Lions once again, Murray feels that this current group have the potential to be even better than Warren Gatland's 2013 Lions who clinched a 2-1 series win over the Wallabies with an impressive 41-16 win in the third Test in Sydney.

"It's definitely got the potential to be better," said Murray when asked to compare the 2013 side to the Lions current squad.

"We're still figuring a few things out and we've got a massive test in the next few weeks so we'll find out at the end of that.

"But there's excitement there that the potential is growing and we want to see how good we are."

Murray and the Lions already know how good the All Blacks are after watching Steve Hansen's side dismantle Samoa 78-0 yesterday in Auckland.

The All Blacks ran in 12 unanswered tries to head into next weekend's opening test in a very strong position with reigning World Rugby Player of the Year Beauden Barrett bagging a very impressive brace in the landslide win.

However, despite the All Blacks sparkling display at Eden Park, Murray said that the Lions have already analysed what they saw from the defending world champions and that it was important that the tourists got a win against the Maori's after Tuesday's one-point defeat to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

"They obviously performed really well and sent out a big message," Murray said of New Zealand's win.

"We analysed them really well, we have a really good video team and the coaches will give us good information and we'll keep building our own game.

"We'll obviously focus on the threats they'll bring but we'll keep building our squad and our game plan, and look to iron out a few creases that were there tonight, but it's definitely a positive.

"We knew coming into the game that it was pretty crucial and that a win was really important to keep momentum. It was a big game, the Maoris are a really good side and had a few All Blacks in there, so we knew it was going to be a big test of where we're at.

"We rallied together after the loss the other day, put our heads down and managed to get a good performance. It's another thing to build on so we're in a good place."

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