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'It was just surreal' - The Irish players experienced the last day drama just like we did

It was an anxious wait for Conor Murray to see if Ireland would retain their title.

Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton celebrate The Irish players celebrate their championship win. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

GIVEN HOW MUCH work the Ireland team put in on the pitch, it was strange that they won the championship in the bowels of Murrayfield stadium wearing sharp suits instead of mud-caked jerseys.

It was the exact opposite to last year’s finale, where a tuxedoed group of England players were snapped reacting to Ireland’s championship win in Paris.

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This time there were beaming smiles as the players were led back onto the field to take the podium. Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray loved every second of the celebration but admitted that the way the day unfolded made for a tough wait.

“Sick as a dog,” Murray said.

“Physically sick. It was just surreal. I never had to do that. I didn’t have to go through that sort of pain. In fairness to England they gave it some crack. They played exceptional. In fairness to France, they did score a few really good tries. There were a few cheers every time they got over the line. It was just surreal.”

Even if England had crossed for another try to claim the Six Nations title, the Irish players could be very content with their performance. Their lack of efficiency in the final third against Wales was a little galling considering how accurate Schmidt’s team usually is in every facet of the game.

There were plenty of calls for the side to broaden their game and after Wales’ hefty win over Italy, Ireland were forced to chase scores.

It ended up coaxing a brilliantly devastating attacking display from the team, and Murray says the players were very pleased with how they bounced back from the loss to Warren Gatland’s men.

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“We were very proud with what we did when we came off the pitch,” Murray said.

“We thought we had a good chance but seeing the way England played and we just heard the result before we went out on the pitch, what Wales did over in Italy. That was like “God the points difference has gone up a little bit more.’ We got to look at ourselves and pat ourselves on the pack. We did play really well today, when the pressure was on so we are an ecstatic group of lads.”

It was Ireland’s first back-to-back title since 1948/1949 and although delighted with the achievement, Murray is excited about the side’s untapped potential as attention shifts to the World Cup in the autumn.

“Constantly through the Six Nations we have performed well, we have played well but there have been a few areas where we know we can do better,” Murray said.

“That is quite exciting for us as a team with back-to-back Championships now. We know we can get better and push on.”

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