Murray says it's time for young guns to take responsibility
Conor Murray arrived in the room after the Anthony Foley press conference. The coach had been pragmatic, stating the need to respect Racing Metro by not chasing four tries from the outset.
Foley also explained the major alteration in the way Munster play under Rob Penney as opposed to his predecessor Tony McGahan. This season the outhalf is the chief play-maker, to bring more width to their game, as opposed to a emphasis on the scrumhalf under McGahan.
Murray’s six-foot-two-inch frame makes him a confrontational scrumhalf. What else could he be? He wants to challenge opposing backrowers.
“Maybe, to be honest, at the start of the year we were going wide a lot of the time but I think we’ve brought in a few more plays off nine,” explained the 23-year-old Ireland halfback, “probably in the last two months we’ve started building that into our game, a bit of our old style game going through the middle of teams and confronting them physically close in.
“I think that’s crept into our game on purpose in the last month or two, which is obviously aimed towards my strengths as well so I’m happy.”
A good mix
The Munster way; a confrontational approach until the other team falters. “We have a good mix in our play at the moment and we did produce opportunities last week but we have to take them.”
Unprompted, Murray spoke about Leinster immediately chasing the four-try bonus point against the Scarlets.
“Not to use them as an example, they’re probably our biggest rivals, but Leinster went for their tries quite early last week, they knew straightaway they had to get the bonus point. Last week there was talk of a bonus point in the air but we still had to win the game first, it wasn’t essential.
“It will probably be essential to get the four tries this week, so we will probably have to respect our opposition and go for the win first but maybe then take a few chances in the first half.”
So, Sunday will be a throw back to the great Munster escapes at Thomond Park. The do-or-die matches when the old guard always delivered. Except this time it is the Murray’s and O’Mahony’s and Zebo’s and Ryan’s who must take the reigns.
“To be honest it is going to be one of the biggest games we will have played for Munster to date, so that carries nerves with it but it is exciting, there’s already a lot of stuff on twitter with fans getting ready for the game and a huge level of support there for us, so yes obviously there’s going to be pressure but it should be a great day out, you’re excited by the fact that if you do perform it’s going to be a huge day.
“That’s how it is, there is a new group of players here and there are some older players pushing on and we need to take responsibility and this probably our biggest chance to set down a big marker and set the tone for the future maybe.”
He has no interest in using the “transitional period” excuse either. “Going back a year ago we were talking about new guys coming into the team, we’ve had a year, we’ve had plenty of games together, we know how we want to play, we’re comfortable enough to give out to each other if things aren’t going right, if people aren’t pulling their weight so that’s no excuse.”
It’s quarter-final or failure. Just like it always has been.