Billy Stickland/INPHO Murray believes Scotland are a different animal from last season.
# damage control
Murray wary of Scots' 'well-oiled machine doing damage'
Ireland can’t take false confidence from win over Italy ahead of final Six Nations clash, according to Munster man.

CONOR MURRAY HAS warned that Ireland cannot take false confidence from their win over Italy last weekend as they prepare to face Vern Cotter’s ‘well-oiled machine’.

Joe Schmidt will pit his wits against his old coaching colleague when Scotland visit the Aviva Stadium on Saturday and the home side will be looking to end their Six Nations campaign on a high after finally securing a win over Italy.

Five second-half tries helped Ireland put some gloss on the scoreboard in their maiden victory in this season’s competition, securing a 58-15 win over the injury-hit Italians, but scrum-half Murray expects a sterner test against the Scots, whom Ireland defeated last year to retain the Six Nations.

“Everyone’s happy but you can be tricked into thinking that this Six Nations is going to fade out and we’ll finish it well or whatever… Scotland are going really well at the moment and they’ll be gunning for us after last year’s result,” said Murray.

“The team that played us that day are completely different from what we’re going to face at the weekend so we have to bring ourselves back down to earth and work really hard this week. Some of the tries that we scored against Italy, some of the ones later on that seemed a bit easier than normal, they won’t happen this weekend so it’ll be a different story.”

Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien, Felix Jones, Simon Zebo and Conor Murray celebrate with the trophy Dan Sheridan / INPHO Murray (right) and Ireland are a far cry away from last year's celebrations at Murrayfield. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

While this weekend’s clash is a dead-rubber in championship terms, Cotter’s side are coming off the back of an impressive win over France and both sides will be hoping to end the tournament on a high this weekend.

“We’re up against a better team this weekend so you can’t assume that we’re going to play as well as it looked (against Italy),” claimed Murray.

“They (Scotland) are playing with real width at the moment and they’re not afraid to throw the ball around. They’ve got a really strong scrum… that’s a really strong weapon for them at the moment. Their back-row are pretty dangerous, especially at slowing down opposition ball.

“I think (Greig) Laidlaw and Finn Russell if he’s back fit – if not, (Peter) Horne can come in and do a really good job as well – they run the show quite well. Then you have the likes of (Tommy) Seymour, (Tim) Visser and (Stuart) Hogg.

“I know (Hogg) quite well and he’s in a rich vein of form. He had a massive impact on the game at the weekend and he’s going to be coming here with his confidence sky-high. They’re going to be a well-oiled machine coming here and looking to do damage,” added Murray.

Ireland’s 30-point win at Murrayfield last year not only sealed back-to-back Six Nations titles as their tally helped them top the table on points difference, but it also condemned Scotland to picking up the wooden spoon.

Murray admitted that his side’s need to chase points on that occasion led to a fast-and-loose approach that may not be replicated this weekend.

“I suppose we probably did take a few more risks the last time we played Scotland because of the points difference,” he said.

“Scotland are much better (now) and they’re going to play an awful lot better than they did that day… After their World Cup and Six Nations and their performance against France, it’s a different Scotland team and we’ve got to eye it up a bit differently,” added Murray.

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