Conor Murray hoping to show his worth to new Ireland coach Joe Schmidt

Keith Earls determined to put his injury woes behind him for the first time in years

 Conor Murray wearing the new Munster collegiate red home jersey includes new features such as an adidas rugby collar with the six Munster counties embroidered into it, sub blue shoulder panelling and mesh panelling under the arms. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Conor Murray wearing the new Munster collegiate red home jersey includes new features such as an adidas rugby collar with the six Munster counties embroidered into it, sub blue shoulder panelling and mesh panelling under the arms. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

The last six months have seen a lot of change in the life of Conor Murray. In the twilight of Declan Kidney’s reign as Irish coach he was asked to step forward and take a greater leadership role in the squad. His good form in the green shirt earned him a call up to the British and Irish Lions squad, where he played a telling role in the final two Tests.

But in between Kidney was jettisoned and Joe Schmidt was was brought in, armed with a great knowledge of his two former number nines, Isaac Boss and Eoin Reddan, at Leinster.

And while Murray admits to a certain amount of worry about his position as the lead scrum-half, he is determined to display his wares to Schmidt as soon as he gets some field time.

Nervous tension
“I think the camp yesterday (Wed) we were chatting to fellas and there is a bit of nervous tension around. People know they have to impress and that was laid out yesterday by the coaches as well.

“They are going to be looking at everyone’s first couple of games and see how they play. That’s what they are going to base selection on. That was the way with Rob (Penney, the Munster coach) last year.

“I’ll admit it, I was nervous and excited as well. But nervous that you have to prove yourself. That’ll bring nerves and there is no difference for the international stage this year.

“Hopefully it’ll be down to who plays well and who suits the game plan best. That’s how it’s going to go. I don’t know the game plan yet but I presume he’ll pick whoever fits into that the best,” said Murray, who has already amassed 19 international caps.

Meanwhile, Keith Earls said he is determined to put his injury woes behind him for the first time in years and finally deliver on his potential in the Munster shirt. Five years ago, when he nailed down a place on the Munster team, Earls raced home for 10 tries in 23 games, but since then he has been ravaged by injury. But now the Moyross man reckons he is ready to take off again.

New Munster kit
Earls was speaking at the launch of Munster’s new home and alternative adidas kits in Thomond Park on Wednesday, but he confirmed he won’t be ready to play until at least the third week of Pro 12 action.

“Yeah, I have about six or seven weeks now under my belt, I’m staying away from contact mainly, easing my way back into it, been hitting a few bags now in the last week.

“Nobody plays 100 per cent, there’s always niggles with rugby players, I think this injury goes back to a schools cup game, it’s probably long term but got a bit worse.

“In my first season with Munster I had nothing on my mind and I ended up scoring something like 10 tries; I’ve never had a season like that so I want to get back to something like that.”