Thursday 12 December 2019

Conor Murray: Springboks scalp would be 'nice', not vital

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray says beating a southern hemisphere team in the autumn internationals would be a good step in the right direction. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray says beating a southern hemisphere team in the autumn internationals would be a good step in the right direction. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Conor Murray has stopped short of agreeing with Matt O'Connor's assertion that Ireland must beat a southern hemisphere side this month in order to be competitive at next year's World Cup.

The scrum-half admitted that victory over South Africa or Australia would be a good reference point in England and Wales, but said it would not consume the squad, who want to see an improved performance this month.

"It would be nice, yeah," the Munster star said. "It would certainly be a good starting point but, we're looking at ourselves, at performing really well and being in control of what we can. That comes with getting our stuff right. Whatever South Africa throw at us we need to be able to deal with.

"Beating a southern hemisphere team would be a good step in the right direction."

Manager Michael Kearney said there was no reason for concern regarding Johnny Sexton despite the fly-half coming off at half-time of Racing Metro's game on Saturday complaining of tightness in his thigh. Kearney said the withdrawal him had been pre-planned.

Rory Best is a doubt after straining his calf, while Mike Ross is being gradually re-introduced to training. Luke Fitzgerald, Rob Herring and Tadhg Furlong were added to the squad yesterday, while Rob Kearney, Gordon D'Arcy, Jack McGrath, Tommy Bowe and Stuart Olding trained.

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