Monday 20 January 2020

'Murray proves he is probably world's best No 9' - Henry

The accuracy of Murray’s kicking was a key facet of the touring side’s win. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
The accuracy of Murray’s kicking was a key facet of the touring side’s win. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ruaidhri O'Connor in Dunedin

World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry has hailed Conor Murray as "probably the best scrum-half in the world" after his performance against the Crusaders.

The former Lions and New Zealand coach was full of praise for the Ireland and Munster No 9 who was part of the 12-3 win over the leading Super Rugby team that kick-started the tour.

The accuracy of Murray's kicking was a key facet of the touring side's win as he linked up well with Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton who came on for centre Jon Davies during the first-half and gave his best performance of the tour.

Murray's efforts have caught the eye in New Zealand where Crusaders coach Scott Robertson described him as world-class and Henry went a step further, saying he is a world-leading player.


"Conor Murray was outstanding. He's a very composed player, he knows the game and he never gets rattled," he told RadioLive NZ. "He's probably the best No 9 in the world.

"Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton ran the game well. Alun-Wyn Jones had a big game as captain. He led by example."

The Lions' injury list remains surprisingly good, but Stuart Hogg's tour is in jeopardy after he was sent for scans on his cheek following his accidental collision with Murray's elbow.

Davies is following the return-to-play protocols after failing his Head Injury Assessment, while Ross Moriarty is struggling with a back strain.

The All Blacks, meanwhile, issued a positive injury bulletin after their first day in camp yesterday ahead of Friday's warm-up clash with Samoa.

Coach Steve Hansen reported Kieran Read would be over his thumb injury and fit for the first Test on Saturday week, while Jerome Kaino has recovered from his knee issue and Scott Barrett is also fit.

Ben Smith and Brodie Retallick are over their concussions, Dane Coles (concussion) and Liam Squire (thumb) are expected to miss out, while Ryan Crotty (rib) is doubtful.

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