Conor Murray under no illusions about the size of Wales challenge
Ireland scrumhalf focusing on the positives after hard-fought opening win over Scotland
Conor Murray is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing Ireland against Wales. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Don’t let the complexion of the win colour judgement was Conor Murray’s message at the Irish team base in Sports Campus Ireland on Monday.
The Irish scrumhalf insists Ireland did enough things well to take confidence from the opening Six Nations Championship victory over Scotland, as last year’s champions Wales prepare to visit Dublin at the weekend.
Murray added that Scotland came to play rugby and had a point to prove after their poor showing at the Rugby World Cup, while Ireland showed flashes of what they were capable of producing.
“What we’ve done in training so far, what we showed glimpses of... let’s not forget, I think Scotland came here and played really well. They did,” said Murray.
“In the World Cup, we dominated them really well and got away from them in the game but they came here with a point to prove and were really fired up for it. They came really close to snatching a win. You’ve to give them credit too, I thought they played really well.”
Like Irish coach Andy Farrell did after the match, Murray also preferred to focus on what Ireland did well in their first outing, and following meetings he is now enthused about the visit of new Welsh coach Wayne Pivac and his team.
“From what we’ve been talking about in meetings and in training, I’m really excited about this weekend,” said the Irish scrumhalf. “There is definitely more than enough belief.”
“We did well both sides of the ball, especially in defence late in the game and after a couple of mistakes. Getting back, winning turnovers. There’s a huge amount of positives from that game.”
There is no doubting the dimensions of the Welsh threat after they cruised past Italy in their opening game, with Murray noting they pose a greater danger to Ireland with their speed and size.
“They’ve got speed, size, they can play in a variety of different ways,” said Murray.
“They’re Grand Slam champions, they’ll be coming here looking to get a result. It’s going to be a tough one.
“Wales are going to be really tough, they’ve played the same way for a long time now but there’s going to be a few differences. But, their kicking game and the pressure they put on you with their kick-chase is going to make life pretty difficult,” he added.
“That’s an area we’re going to improve on, our kicking and our contestable kicks and exits. We came under a bit of pressure there at the weekend, our game-breakers - their backline is always a handful.”