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Dublin: 6°C Tuesday 18 May 2021

Ireland not 'clapping each other on the back after a win like that' - Murray

The scrum-half didn’t need prompting to look ahead to the tougher challenge presented by Wales next week.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

DESPITE JUST PUTTING  a convincing 22 points between themselves and Scotland for the starters in the Six Nations, Irish players remained a little on edge after yesterday’s game.

The reason wasn’t only that Scotland looked a pretty ordinary side by the time the second half got into a rhythm. Nor was it that Wales will quickly fill the gap left in the visitors changing room; it was the all-seeing eye of Joe Schmidt.

“That is just the way Joe is,” says Conor Murray, “he always sees areas where we can improve and that is pretty important. You are not going to go around clapping each other on the back after a win like that.

“There are areas that didn’t work quite well:  [things] we had a look at in training and they didn’t come off today. So there are always things to improve on and that is a good mindset to have as a coach.

“You are not going to get carried away after a win like that. There is always something to work on -you can’t think you are on top of the world after beating Scotland. There is always plenty to improve.”


In the privacy of the dressing room,  Schmidt did praise his side for their second half performance and so Murray felt more than comfortable picking out one score in particular as indicative of the gameplan this side is trying to cement in place.

“Our ball control was quite good. Especially for Rob [Kearney's] try, we held onto the ball for 10, 15 phases. That showed that you needed to hold onto the ball to break the Scottish team down, at times we did that.”

While the patience was greater in a second half in which Ireland claimed 68% of the possession (59% overall);throughout the game Murray and his half back partner Jonathan Sexton displayed a noticeable reluctance to kick the ball away, putting boot to ball on just 18 of their combined 134 possessions.

“Joe has full confidence in us to keep playing and keep trying things. With Rob’s try we held onto the ball. Scotland were making it difficult for us for large portions of the game at the breakdown, slowing down our ball and we knew it would take a good number of phases to break them down and that is what happened. That is a pleasing aspect.”

As for the non-pleasing aspects? Murray has been in close quarters with enough Welsh Lions to know that they must be ironed out when the reigning champions come to Dublin this week.

“There is always going to be things to pull out. Joe is going to have a few areas to work on. Wales are a completely different team. They will offer completely different threats that we are going to have to try and nullify.

“We know how good they are and especially from the summer, the threats they bring from all over the park, it is going to be a tough one.”

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Sean Farrell

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