Monday 11 December 2017

'It's not us against Conor Murray' - Stuart Hogg claims Scotland won't be targeting Irish scrumhalf

Conor Murray was not happy with how he was targeted by the Glasgow Warriors
Conor Murray was not happy with how he was targeted by the Glasgow Warriors

Andy Newport

Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg insists there will be no extra spice in the Six Nations opener against Ireland in Murrayfield following their recent rows with Munster.

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray accused Hogg and his Glasgow team-mates of targeting him for foul play during this month's Champions Cup clash, while hooker Fraser Brown and Ireland wing Keith Earls were involved in a war of words earlier in the campaign.

Hogg said: "We do nothing different to Conor Murray than we do to any other nine. We're just looking to apply as much pressure as we can.

"The (spats between Glasgow and Munster) might be in the back of some folk's minds but for myself and the rest of the boys, we'll just be getting on with the job in hand.

"It's not us against Conor Murray, it's us against Ireland."

Scotland defence coach MattTaylor added: "Munster and Ireland have a good kicking game. So we went out there to put as much pressure on the opposition as possible.

"We did that - and we did it within the laws. It's really important to get that across. We didn't do anything outside the law.

"Listen, I think people use various methods to try to get referees on their side. I think that's maybe what they're trying to do."

Meanwhile, the Scots preparations will include an emergency plan for going a man down following World Rugby's crackdown on dangerous tackles.

The governing body has introduced tougher rules on collisions which impact the head and upper body.

Taylor insists his side will not be as badly affected as other teams because they tackle fairly.

But he and Vern Cotter are taking no chances.

Taylor revealed he has already started preparing the Scots for the possibility they may end up with 14 men at some point when they kick off their campaign against Ireland on February 4.

He said: "We had a referee come in and make a presentation today on the new law, on what is acceptable.

"We are generally a low-tackling team so that should help us. But we've got to be really accurate with our tackling, because sometimes the way the game is, people are falling, you come in at the wrong angle, you hit them and you could be in trouble.

"We have prepared for playing with 14 men. We have a plan in place for how we'll defend when we're a man down. We are prepared for it and will put it on the training park."

Press Association

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