Conor Murray dreaming of Lions but knows the competition for scrumhalf shirt is fierce
Munster man happy with his Six Nations form and bigger leadership role taken
Conor Murray: happy with his own form in the the 2013 Six Nations despite Ireland’s poor results. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Warren Gatland makes his final pick of players.
Murray, who has never been selected for a Lions tour, put in some good performances in recent months and hopes Munster’s final run in will add to his chances.
“Every player is asked about it (Lions) and they give you a roundabout answer that they are not thinking about it but I have thought about it and you’re putting all the possible selections in your mind but it changes every day in my head,” said Murray.
“I don’t know where I am but I’d like to think I am in and around there. The competition for the scrumhalf position is immense. All the contenders had strong championships and are in with a good shout of making the squad.
“I’ve just got to keep playing my game and make sure I’m in the mix when the squad is announced.”
In the mix
Wales’ Mike Phillips, England’s Danny Care and Ben Youngs, and Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw will all be in the mix for selection.
But Murray can look to this weekend’s match against Glasgow in Scotstoun tomorrow as an opportunity to further his cause. The Gregor Townsend-coached Scottish side were minutes away from beating Leinster last weekend in the RDS but for an Ian Madigan intervention with a try and a penalty.
“Coming back to play with Munster is first and foremost and you have got to make sure your game is up to scratch to get in the team and perform on the day,” said Murray. “Then there’s the quarter-final and there’s players there that you might be in contention with for honours so that will probably be in the back of my mind and you can’t hide the fact that that is there.
“During the Six Nations it was quite difficult with the results but overall, I was quite happy with my own performance. I think I have taken a step in the right direction with Ireland and taken up a bit more of a leadership role and feel a bit more comfortable within the team and bring more ideas forward.
“Personally, during the Six Nations I felt good. I felt I knew when to kick and run and I was quite happy with that, so I’ve got to try and bring that back to Munster now and push on.”
Brian O’Driscoll, meanwhile, has until 4pm today to appeal his three-week suspension for stamping on Italy’s Simone Favaro. The 34-year-old centre, who received a yellow card for the incident in Ireland’s final Six Nations match, is set to miss Leinster’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Wasps on April 5th.
The hearing said O’Driscoll’s offence was in the mid-range, five-week ban level of seriousness, but deducted two weeks from that punishment on account of his previously “exemplary” record.
Wales outhalf Dan Biggar has agreed a new three-year contract with the Ospreys. The club announced yesterday they had finalised terms with the 23-year-old to keep him at the Liberty Stadium until 2016.
It will also be welcome news for the Welsh Rugby Union, given the player exodus of recent seasons. Mike Phillips, Gethin Jenkins, Luke Charteris, James Hook and Lee Byrne currently play in France.