Monday 23 September 2019

'I got a bit of a scare' - Conor Murray feared for World Cup chances after England blow

Ireland Rugby star Conor Murray was on hand in Aviva Stadium to launch the Aviva Mini Rugby Nations Cup. See or Aviva Ireland social channels using #SafeToDream for details. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ireland Rugby star Conor Murray was on hand in Aviva Stadium to launch the Aviva Mini Rugby Nations Cup. See or Aviva Ireland social channels using #SafeToDream for details. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Conor Murray has admitted that he feared his World Cup hopes were over when he suffered a head injury during last weekend's defeat to England.

The Ireland scrum-half hurt himself as he attempted to tackle Jonny May, which left him in a heap on the ground.

Murray had to undergo a HIA and although he did return to fray after passing it, Joe Schmidt revealed afterwards that was due to a breakdown in communication between the management and that Murray should have remained on the sideline.

The 30-year old has had trouble with his neck recently, so when he collided with May, he immediately thought the worst.

"I’m good, yeah, I got a bit of a scare to be honest," Murray said.

"I just got my head on the wrong side of a tackle. It’s hard. For me especially, it’s a work on.

"Just trying to get my head and feet right. It’s tough in the wider channels when you’re thinking someone like Jonny May who is really quick and you don’t want to get beaten on the outside and he steps back inside.

"I just got a bit of a bang, passed everything, passed the HIA and stuff, thankfully. Trained fully Monday and yesterday.

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"That’s (World Cup) just naturally in my head and I presume anyone who gets a bang between now and when the plane sets off is going to be worried about it because it’s such a big thing.

"We’ve had a great eight-week block of preseason and everyone is feeling great, whatever happened on Saturday happened but the opportunity to go to a World Cup is so big.

"I know I’ve been to two and been really lucky but this just has a bit of a different feeling. You’re kind of more aware, you’re more motivated so to have a bit of a scare, that might...thankfully not but when you do get a bang you probably over-think it a little bit."

In explaining the breakdown in communication which resulted in him coming back on after passing his HIA, Murray said:

"I just passed my HIA and then you have to wait the full 10 minutes before you come back on. I came back on with a minute or two minutes to go.

"Then at half-time, I still wore the bang a little bit and we all decided together, had it been a more important match, I’m not saying that a Test match against England isn’t important, but it was just wiser to take the precaution and come off.

"After we chatted at half-time that was the decision we made as a group really. In other games where I came back on and I was fine, I just wore it a little.

"It was a big enough impact so maybe wiser to take your beating and come back and fight another day."

Murray also admitted that he had no complaints about May's elbow catching him, as he put it down to his own tackle technique:

"I went low and he was trying to bump me."

Murray is unlikely to be involved against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, which means that he has even more time to mull over the horror show at Twickenham.

And the Limerick native added that it would take some time yet before he and his team-mates fully get over the shellacking at the hands of England.

"You wear it for a long time, don’t you? That was our record defeat. There were a very honest couple of days in the review room trying to iron out the mistakes.

"It was a really tough week to be honest. It’s England away. We did a great eight-week block of pre-season and we were feeling really good but for reasons we have looked at, reasons that are fixable, for that amount of things to go wrong and look flat and look tired was concerning, but not to the point that we can’t fix it.

"It’s not an excuse, but it was a lot of lads first game in. Lots of lads looked fatigued. That’s where that excuse ends. There were lots of uncharacteristic errors. Straight up missed tackles. (Maro) Itoje walked in nearly untouched. (Joe) Cokanasiga for another one.

"The hookers, the callers, the jumpers are working really hard to fix the lineout. That’s the beauty of having a game this week, but you wear that (defeat) for a long time. That was embarrassing."

Conor Murray was speaking at the Aviva Stadium. Aviva, proud supporters of Irish Rugby are celebrating this year’s Rugby World Cup by offering Mini’s players around the country the opportunity to play their own Mini Rugby Nations Cup while the Irish Team are away at the RWC in Japan.

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