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Murray: It was difficult not to think about France game before now

The scrum-half is gearing up for a ‘massive’ game on Sunday.

Conor Murray says Sunday's game with France is massive.
Conor Murray says Sunday's game with France is massive.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

- Rory Keane reports from London.

CONOR MURRAY IS gearing up for a “massive” challenge against France at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday.

Victories over Canada, Romania and Italy were always expected. Joe Schmidt and his squad have preached their mantra of “taking if one game at a time” throughout this World Cup campaign, but, in truth, Sunday’s game has always been the focal point.

“It’s massive,” said the Munster scrum-half. “It was hard not to talk about it for the last couple of weeks, because a lot of fans and people were asking questions about it.

“It was in the back of everyone’s minds a little bit, I suppose. Now it’s come around. We’ve got three wins, albeit we would have liked to have played better (against Italy), but we’ve got a week to get things right and build ourselves up for a massive, massive game.”

Ireland delivered a sluggish and error-strewn display against a fired-up Azzurri outfit at the Olympic Stadium.

Schmidt suggested post-match that his side may have been lulled into a false sense of security following their emphatic victories against Canada and Romania in previous weeks.

“No, I don’t think so,” said Murray on whether Ireland were complacent against the Italians.

“We know Italy very well and we knew what was coming so I don’t think we’re the type of team that does that, but we knew what kind of a threat they’d pose and, if we weren’t clinical and took our chances, they’d stick around and make it a tough day at the office which is exactly what happened.

“We would have liked to have played better, but because we didn’t, we knew they’d stick around and stay in it and make a game of it.

Murray insists that Ireland have parked the Italy performance. The video review session is done. They have pitched up in Celtic Manor in Cardiff to prepare for Sunday’s encounter. Their focus now turns to their seismic clash with les Blues:

“We’re happy we’re through. A scrappy win but we know, with a good week’s training, we can fix a lot of the things that didn’t go right.”

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