'I got a bit of a scare' - Murray on injury worry during 'embarrassing' defeat to England

The Munster scrum-half was back in full training on Monday and yesterday.

AS CONOR MURRAY lay on the pitch at Twickenham after taking a glancing blow to the head from Jonny May’s elbow, he feared the worst for a split second.

Set to travel to his third World Cup as a key man for Joe Schmidt’s Ireland team, the 30-year-old admits he got a scare.

conor-murray-goes-off-for-a-head-injury-assessment Murray went for a HIA, which he passed. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Murray was taken off for a Head Injury Assessment but fortunately for player and team alike, he passed that examination and returned to play for the closing stages of the first half, before being permanently replaced by Luke McGrath at the interval.

The first impact left him fearing for an instant that his World Cup might be in danger.

“I got a bit of a scare, to be honest,” said Murray at the Aviva Stadium today. “That’s just naturally in my head and I presume for anyone who gets a bang between now and when the plane sets off.

“You’re going to be worried about it because it’s such a big thing. We’ve had a great eight-week block of pre-season and everyone was feeling great. Whatever happened on Saturday happened but the opportunity to go to a World Cup is so huge.

“I’ve been lucky to go to two but this just has a different feeling; you’re more aware, you’re more motivated. So it was just a scare that that might now happen, but thankfully not. When you do get any bang, you probably overthink it, but all is well.”

Murray said he doesn’t feel there was anything questionable about May’s use of the elbow in the collision, saying that he went low into the tackle as the England wing tried to bump him off.

“I just got my head on the wrong side of a tackle,” said Murray. “For me, it’s a work-on getting my head and feet right but it’s tough in the wider channels with someone like Jonny May, who’s really quick – you don’t want to get beaten on the outside and he steps back to the inside.

“I got a bit of a bang but I passed everything, passed the HIA, and thankfully I trained fully on Monday and Tuesday.” 

Despite passing his HIA, Murray wasn’t actually supposed to return to the action at Twickenham, with Ireland head coach Schmidt saying after the game that there had been a “communication error” by the management team. 

aviva-mini-rugby-nations-cup-launch Conor Murray was speaking at the launch of the Aviva Mini Rugby Nations Cup. Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

“I passed my HIA and you have to wait the full 10 minutes before you come back on, so I got back on with two minutes to go until half-time,” said Murray today. “Then at half-time, I still wore the bang a little bit and we all decided together.

“Not that a Test match against England isn’t important, but it was just wiser to take the precaution and come off. It was a big enough impact so maybe it’s wiser to take your beating and come back another day.”

Murray was forced to watch the second half from the sidelines as Ireland crumbled and suffered a record loss to the English.

There was obvious frustration in being unable to affect the action directly and Murray says Ireland won’t make peace with that performance any time soon.

“You wear it for a long time, don’t you? That was our record defeat. It’s England away. We’ve had a very honest couple of days in the review room trying to iron out the mistakes.

“For reasons we have looked at, for reasons that are fixable, for that amount of things to go wrong and look flat and look tired was concerning but not to the point that we can’t fix it. It’s not an excuse but it was a lot of lads’ first game in, lots of lads looked fatigued.

“That’s where that excuse ends. There were lots of uncharacteristic errors. Straight-up missed tackles. [Maro] Itoje walked in nearly untouched, [Joe] Cokanasinga for another one.

“The hookers, the callers, the jumpers are working really hard to fix the lineout. That’s the beauty of having a game this week but you wear that for a long time. That was embarrassing.”

Conor Murray was speaking at the launch of the Aviva Mini Rugby Nations Cup, which will be played at Aviva Stadium on Sunday, 22 September – the same day as Ireland’s opening RWC clash against Scotland. 

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