Ireland’s World Cup failure down to players – not gameplan, says Murray

Scrumhalf looking forward to ‘attacking’ new Ireland set-up under Andy Farrell

Munster scrumhalf Conor Murray says he doesn’t plan on reading Schmidt’s memoirs until after he finishes his playing career. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Munster scrumhalf Conor Murray says he doesn’t plan on reading Schmidt’s memoirs until after he finishes his playing career. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Conor Murray knocked back the suggestion that Ireland were short of ideas and had a stale gameplan at the World Cup and put their failure down to the players’ inability to execute at key moments.

Murray made his first start for Munster since the World Cup last weekend in their bonus-point victory away to Ospreys, and with Racing 92 visiting Thomond Park this Saturday in the Champions Cup, the Ireland scrumhalf is happy to have dived straight back into competitive action.

According to Murray, Joe Schmidt’s Ireland were victims of Japan’s “purple patch” in the group stages, which cost them top spot in the standings, while their quarter-final defeat to New Zealand was largely down to individual errors and facing one of the world’s top sides. The Limerick native was happy to return to familiar surroundings to regroup, he says.

“Personally you get over it when you get back into a group like this. I had a bit of time off, came back in, and literally had no time to even feel sorry for yourself,” said Murray.

Tough game

“If you were to ask the other Irish lads just getting back and getting going again was the best thing.

“It was a tough World Cup and it will take a while to get over. I’m not thinking about it now, but it’s nice to be able to just move on and play rugby again, just for the enjoyment of it.

“I did enjoy the World Cup, it was just the defeat at the end. We did a great pre-season, we prepared really well and opened up really well against Scotland. Japan was a tough game, they got their purple patch and we didn’t manage to deal with it.

“People saying that our gameplan became predictable or whatever. If we played well and we executed that chance for a line-break, scored off the back of it and then went 7-0 up, suddenly there’s nothing wrong with your gameplan. When it goes the opposite way, that’s when people are obliged to say that, or feel they can say it.

“We had full confidence in what we were trying to do, we just didn’t do it. It would be nice to get that chance again, but you might not.”

If selected as expected, it will be a very different Ireland camp that Murray enters in the new year. Schmidt’s time as coach is over – he will soon release his autobiography – and he has been replaced by Andy Farrell, who is sure to bring new ideas to the camp despite serving as assistant coach to Schmidt for three years.

Murray says that players are looking forward to “attacking” that new setup, and that he doesn’t plan on reading Schmidt’s memoirs until after he finishes his playing career.

Damaging

“I don’t know, maybe it might be really damaging to read it for yourself. I might leave it off until I finish playing,” Murray said.

“I’m sure it will be a brilliant book and a great insight into his mind if it’s going to be a coaching book or whatever way he wants it to come across. It will be fascinating, I think he wrote it himself, so I’ll get someone to read it first and if there’s anything bad about me, I’ll wait until I finish playing.

“I think going into camp now with a freshness, a new head coach, and things like that, it’s a fresh thing that players can attack, rather than having been together for so long and going back to the exact same setup.

“Even though it was really good, maybe it’s just weirdly good timing to freshen things up.”

Meanwhile, Munster senior coach, Stephen Larkham, admitted that Joey Carbery is coping with “a fair bit of damage” to his ankle following Ireland’s World Cup. Munster have been boosted by the return of JJ Hanrahan to training, but they still have no idea of Carbery’s likely return date.

“He’s progressing really well. The way I understand it is, we are going to take it slow because there was a fair bit of damage there,” said Larkham.

“He had a really good week last week, which is not to say it’s going happen again this week. He’s not playing this weekend, he’s not ready. We’ll reassess him next week to see how he goes and likewise the following week.”

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