'He should not have reacted' - Former England international tells Conor Murray to get used to cynical tactics
Former England hooker Brian Moore has warned Munster and Ireland star Conor Murray to expect plenty of rough treatment in the weeks and months to come.
The scrumhalf was repeatedly, and cynically, targeted in the dramatic 14-12 victory over the Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun on Saturday.
The 27-year-old has established himself as one of the top players in world rugby and his tactical kicking is an integral facet of his game.
Murray became frustrated on Saturday after he was hit late on numerous occasions after putting up box kicks. He was also hit as he kicked the ball out at the end of the game
Writing in his column in the Daily Telegraph today, Moore pinpointed the tactical success of targeting Murray in such an aggressive way and warned that coaches will be watching this and he should be prepared for similar treatment very soon.
"Perhaps the outstanding Irish player at the moment is scrum-half Conor Murray, who was targeted very cleverly by Glasgow in his side’s narrow away win. The first couple of late contacts were timed so well that you could not say they were deliberate," he said.
"It was only once the fourth, fifth and so on went in that you knew this was planned. What also stopped it being obvious was that the hits were not of the cheap-shot, whiplash variety. They were simply the completion of a normal tackle or the attempted dive to charge a box-kick down. Nonetheless, each action resulted in contact and Murray being knocked over.
"Murray eventually concluded the number of apparent accidents meant they were no such thing and reacted accordingly. You can understand him doing this but his wisdom is rather less obvious. Both the Six Nations and All Blacks coaching teams will have noted this tactical success."
Munster are the latest club to face an investigation over their handling of a suspected head injury after Murray was allowed to play on despite appearing to lose consciousness briefly in the Irish province’s Champions Cup win in Glasgow, while Northampton wing George North has attacked the media for their coverage of his recent concussion.
European Professional Club Rugby has asked Munster to provide an account of the club’s actions over the incident and the likely outcome is an Untoward Incident Review, which would be conducted by an independent panel. It will be the first time the World Rugby protocol has been used since its adoption by the EPCR – the governing body of the European Champions and Challenge Cups – following a meeting of its medical advisory board in Milan in December.
The injury to Murray occurred in the 65th minute when he tried to tackle Glasgow lock Tim Swinson. Footage appears to show Murray motionless on the turf for a brief period before looking in distress and rubbing his head as he is attended to by the Munster medical team.
Referee Luke Pearce appeared to suggest that Murray needed a Head Impact Assessment, which kept the Ireland and Lions No 9 off the pitch for five minutes. He subsequently returned to play in the final minutes of Munster’s win but World Rugby guidelines state a player should be removed from the field of play if there is even a suspicion they have lost consciousness.
EPCR is sufficiently concerned about the impartiality of club medical staff that they are looking at requiring independent match-day doctors from the quarter-finals onwards.