Sunday 18 March 2018

We won't be afraid to show our hand, insists Murray

Ireland's Conor Murray after a press conference at Carton House
Ireland's Conor Murray after a press conference at Carton House
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

The competitive nature of the Ireland squad is such that even for a player of Conor Murray's stature, watching the first two warm-up games from the sidelines has been tough.

Joe Schmidt has opted to keep his heavy hitters in reserve but like tomorrow's opponents, Wales, they will be unleashed for what is the penultimate game before the World Cup begins.

Facing a fully loaded Welsh side will provide an altogether different challenge to the meagre one Ireland faced at the Millennium Stadium earlier this month.

For Murray, it's a chance to dust off the cobwebs and reignite his formidable partnership with Johnny Sexton and he insisted that although the tournament is still three weeks away, Ireland won't be reluctant to show their hand.

"I'm sure Joe and the rest of the coaching staff will have looked at our opposition in the World Cup and probably have a few different combinations or moves that they might want to try out in those games and we might not be using them in this game," Murray said.

"But we've our full game plan and menu ready to go. I don't think we're afraid to show our cards. There might be one or two things we mightn't play this weekend. We might save them for a particular game in the World Cup.

"I don't think you can hold back in a Test match. You have to do everything you can to win and put points on the board.

"We're fully confident with the game plan we have for this weekend. It's not hard to get up for this game."

Murray may be itching to get his first run-out of the season but his current situation pales in comparison to the one he found himself in four years ago.

Having only made his Test debut nine days before Declan Kidney named his squad, the former St Munchin's College student muscled his way in and has since become an integral part of Ireland's World Cup hopes.

With Schmidt still undecided over a couple of places, as a more senior player, Murray can now relate to how those on the fringes are feeling heading into tomorrow's clash.

"You might feel like that (as if your role has changed) a bit but I think this squad is open and honest with each other," he maintained.

"We all have a clear understanding of what we are trying to do and we help each other along the way. Take the No 9 position for example, we are always kinda chatting around the field.

"If a move didn't go right or we defended something wrongly we come together and have a chat and see how we fix it so I think across the board in all positions, people are willing to help each other.

"If I am an older guy with an older head on his shoulders and guys ask me then great. I got it last time around from Redser (Reddan) and Bossy (Isaac) and Tomás (O'Leary) and Strings (Stringer) so hopefully I can do it this time."

Irish Independent

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