Sport Rugby

Saturday 10 December 2016

Murray targets Bok series win as Schmidt cuts Madigan and O’Donnell

Published 26/05/2016 | 02:30

Joe Schmidt has overlooked the form of Connacht winger Matt Healy, preferring the established quartet of Andrew Trimble, Luke Fitzgerald, Keith Earls and Dave Kearney: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Joe Schmidt has overlooked the form of Connacht winger Matt Healy, preferring the established quartet of Andrew Trimble, Luke Fitzgerald, Keith Earls and Dave Kearney: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Conor Murray says Ireland fully believe they can make history in South Africa by beating the Springboks on home soil and claiming the series.

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Joe Schmidt yesterday named his 32-man panel for next month’s tour, dropping Ian Madigan, Stuart McCloskey, Fergus McFadden and Tommy O’Donnell, who all featured during the Six Nations, while uncapped pair Quinn Roux and Sean Reidy were surprise inclusions.

The head coach (above) has overlooked the form of Connacht winger Matt Healy, preferring the established quartet of Andrew Trimble, Luke Fitzgerald, Keith Earls and Dave Kearney, while Iain Henderson returns to the fold after missing the Six Nations.

Ireland have never won a game in South Africa, never mind a series, and are coming into the game at the end of a long World Cup season.

When they last faced these circumstances, they lost 3-0 to New Zealand and were humiliated in the final Test when they were crushed 60-0 by the All Blacks in Hamilton.

Murray was part of that tour and says that the players feel fresher than they did in 2012.

And the scrum-half says the aim for the travelling party is to make history.

“We want to win. Jesus, you’d like to win the Test series,” he told the Irish Independent.

“Last time we played South Africa, we won. The two years previous to that we’d a really tight game, I remember the score was 12-3 at half-time and we didn’t score in the second half.

“We’re well capable of winning these games, so the objective is to win a Test series.

“To win a game down there is something an Irish team has never done, so that is a bit of history you’d want to be aiming for at least. So, that’s our aim.

“Lads are playing well, the provinces are playing really well at the moment and it can only benefit the Irish team.

“So, we should be going down there with the aim of winning, definitely.”

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