Sunday 22 July 2018

Test of memories: Aussie star Pocock and Murray reunited

The photo tweeted by David Pocock that recalls his schoolboy rugby links with Conor Murray
The photo tweeted by David Pocock that recalls his schoolboy rugby links with Conor Murray
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

For two opposing players in Ireland's titanic test series against Australia, it was merely a catch-up from earlier in their rugby careers.

Joe Schmidt's side secured a first series win in Australia for 39 years with a 20-16 third-test victory in Sydney on Saturday, propelling them to second favourites for next year's World Cup.

But while star Australia flanker David Pocock and Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray were trying their best to beat each other this June, their relationship actually goes all the way back to their days as prodigious schoolboy talents.

Pocock toured Ireland with the Australian schools team back in 2005 and as fate would have it, stayed with the Murrays in Limerick, who were his host family.

Pocock and Murray were two of the top performers across this summer's series, and afterwards the Australia openside shared a brilliant throwback photo of the pair on social media.

"In 2005 on the Australian Schoolboys tour of UK and Ireland we were billeted out with families in Limerick. The family I was billeted with: the Murrays.

David Pocock and Conor Murray together before Saturday’s match
David Pocock and Conor Murray together before Saturday’s match

"I don't think Conor Murray or I were thinking we'd go on to face each other in test rugby. Great to catch up after the game," he tweeted.

Back then Pocock was a star player at Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane, where he played with future Wallabies star Quade Cooper on an undefeated schools team.

Murray's schoolboy career was similarly illustrious, with the Munster star a member of the St Munchin's squad - along with club and country team-mate Keith Earls - that won the Munster Schools Senior Cup in 2006.

Following Ireland's 2-1 series win, they are now the bookies' 5/1 second favourites behind New Zealand to lift the World Cup in autumn 2019.

Irish Independent

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