| 0.8°C Dublin

'It shows you that they're human' - Conor Murray on why Ireland no longer fear the All Blacks

Scrum-half insists Ireland have good reason to be confident against world champions

Close

Conor Murray during Ireland Rugby training. Photo: Sportsfile

Conor Murray during Ireland Rugby training. Photo: Sportsfile

Conor Murray during Ireland Rugby training. Photo: Sportsfile

Conor Murray believes Ireland have nothing to fear against New Zealand after beating them in two of the teams' last three meetings.

On the back of their two victories, in 2016 and last November, Ireland will go into tomorrow's last-eight World Cup clash confident of delivering the biggest result in the country's history and progressing to a first semi-final.

Murray admitted that, in the past, Irish players often got distracted by the fact that they had never beaten the All Blacks before. However, that fear factor no longer exists, and the Munster star believes they are ready to make their mark tomorrow.

That buoyant mood is enhanced by Joe Schmidt being able to name a full-strength starting team (Bundee Aki aside), all of whom have experience of beating New Zealand.

"With the record we had against New Zealand up to that point (2016), there was always that doubt - how do you get past that roadblock that is beating the All Blacks," the scrum-half admitted.

"You have a certain amount of confidence, then, by just getting past that roadblock. That's how I'd describe it.

"It's a massive boost of confidence, it shows you that they're human.

"It just gives you that massive self-belief that you might have been restricted by the record that was there, that we hadn't beaten them.

"To go on and do it again with the Lions in New Zealand and then, obviously, for the majority of the squad to do it in November, it just gives you that extra kind of purpose and that reason to feel good about yourselves.

"I'm really excited about this game, I think there's just a sense that you want to go out and perform as well as you can. These are really rare occasions that you get to do this, especially against the All Blacks in a World Cup.

Rugby Newsletter

Subscribe to 'The Collision' for a weekly update from Rugby Correspondent Ruaidhri O'Connor and the best writing from our expert team. Issued every Friday morning.

This field is required

"We need to have a good bit of confidence about us, because we've done it before. A majority of lads have done it in the green of Ireland.

"You just don't want to be restricted, you want to just go for it."

Close

The New Zealand haka

The New Zealand haka

The New Zealand haka

No-one will ever forget how Ireland lined up to face the Haka before their first victory over the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016.

Gathering in the shape of the number eight, Ireland placed the Munster players at the front, which was a tribute to the tragic passing of Anthony Foley.

There are no special plans to face the Haka in Tokyo tomorrow, but Foley won't be far from some of the players' thoughts.

"Yeah, obviously with the anniversary, he's been in our thoughts," Conor Murray said.

"It's three years, which is scary. And it's a bit of a reminder, when I saw it the other day, of what happened in Chicago. He played a massive part in that day, with the way we approached the Haka.

"I don't think, respectfully, there'll be any need to do anything like that. But he has definitely been in my head this week."

That Ireland don't feel the need to come up with something to face the Haka is a mark of the place they find themselves in ahead of the biggest game of their careers.

The All Blacks are still the team to beat, but Ireland now know that on their day, they are more than a match for them.

Murray rediscovered his best form in last week's win over Samoa, as did Johnny Sexton, and if Ireland's half-backs can do so again tomorrow, they are in with a shout.

Close

Conor Murray’s box-kicking has been one of the features of Ireland’s recent performances under Joe Schmidt

Conor Murray’s box-kicking has been one of the features of Ireland’s recent performances under Joe Schmidt

Conor Murray’s box-kicking has been one of the features of Ireland’s recent performances under Joe Schmidt

"Those confidence levels are always there, to a certain extent," Murray said. "Then if you go through a few blips like performing as a team or individually not quite at your best, there is a little bit of self-doubt.

"Throughout the last four or so years, the confidence levels have been pretty steady.

"Look at our track record, our wins and things like that, there is a reason for that. In terms of this World Cup, to get your confidence levels in the right place, we have been steadily building and building. Performance-wise, we have been building.

"You look back at the history of this team, we have been there and done it against big opposition and I think that's really exciting.

"It's unusual for an Irish team to say that. I think over the last four or five years, we have kind of earned the right to feel like that at times.

"Having performed pretty well in the last couple of weeks and with a bit more to go, and the fact, again going back, that we have been there knowing that we can perform at those levels is really exciting.

"We're used to these big weeks against big teams and we've created little bits of history along the way against different opposition.

"We know if we perform well, we'll be there or thereabouts."


Related topics


Related Content





Most Watched





Privacy