"We can make that extra improvement to get a result in Twickenham" - Conor Murray 1 week ago

"We can make that extra improvement to get a result in Twickenham" - Conor Murray

"Yeah, I'll say it to him. See how he reacts!"

Conor Murray the outhalf? Maybe not as outlandish as you'd think.

Following Ireland's 32-9 win over Wales, on Friday, and his 16-minute cameo as the outhalf to steer his side home, Murray was asked if he would approach head coach Andy Farrell on Monday morning and demand the No.10 jersey for next week.

The Munster scrumhalf started off with a joke, before warming to the idea and explaining how this Ireland team is full of players that have done mighty deeds out of their traditional positions. He should know. Only two weeks ago, he had to watch from the sin-bin as Garry Ringrose filled in at scrumhalf and impressed all those watching with his sniping runs.

"Genuinely," Murray began, "I've been in the team a while now and playing at this level, I think training week-in, week-out with the 10s outside you, and have a bit of an understanding of what they want from you, as a 9, it did make it a little easier just slotting one position over.

"Now I know it's an awful lot different but just having a decent idea of the way we want to play as a team, I think everyone in the team, and the backline especially, know how we're trying to play.

"That's the impressive thing about our group of players, over the years, that if somebody has to slot in a position, they usually do really well in there. I'm thinking of someone like Kieran Marmion, who has played a lot of rugby on the wing for Ireland and he's been brilliant there. That's the pleasing aspect of our squad - we have fellas that can jump in, in a number of positions."

Conor Murray (far right) lining up for the anthems before Ireland beat Wales at the Aviva Stadium. (Credit: Sportsfile)

Murray would have been hoping for 20 or 25 minutes in the No.9 role but Jamison Gibson-Park was given a long run-out and he was left to cover outhalf when Johnny Sexton and Billy Burns, his replacement, both went off injured.

"From playing inside the 10s, during the week, and knowing the calls, not that it's easy to slot in, but you know where you've got to be," said Murray. "And you have the lads chatting to you out on the pitch and you know where you have to be. The inside centres and wingers helped a lot. It was enjoyable. The team were on the front foot a bit and we got a good bit of ball, so it was nice to come on and experience it that way."

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Murray believes there was a noticeable improvement from the 35-27 loss to France, against Wales, and especially in the first half. Ireland only lead 16-6 but they dominated all aspects of play. "There were definitely improvements," he noted, "but I think we were looking for an attitude and a bit of a step forward, and I think we did that tonight."

Up next are England, at Twickenham, and Ireland have copped a few beatings from Eddie Jones men in the past two years. Murray is 100% aware his team will need to up their performance levels again:

"We know already that that won't be good enough in Twickenham, but we have to be realistic. We took a step forward. There's a good feeling in the dressing room, especially that we left a little bit out there. We know we can make that extra improvement that we'll need to do to play well there in Twickenham and get to a result in Twickenham.

"There's a bit of experience of lads that have played there and there's new lads that haven't been there, which can be a good thing too. We have a nice mix in the squad at the moment and it's a really enjoyable environment to be in. everyone's learning off each other. Everyone's pushing each other, and we know we've great potential in this team. I think everyone is searching to reach that, which is exciting."

And, whether it is in the 9 or 10 jersey next weekend, Murray is desperate to start against the English.

"Jamison has been playing really well and he deserved his chance," he said. "And Andy said he was going to take a look at a few people and a few different combinations. Personally, you want to play every game that you have a chance of being selected in.

"You know, I'm happy with where I'm at. I'm enjoying rugby since coming back from the lockdown, paying zero attention to the outside noise, which I find really helpful for me. It's just the way it is, and you have to be mature enough to deal with that, and continue on your journey, and try and be better, and learn off the people in the squad."


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Season 3 has returned with Ian Madigan & Eimear Considine as hosts. You can catch up on all our episodes from past seasons and interviews with Conrad Smith, Victor Matfield, Simon Zebo, Sean O'Brien, Drew Mitchell, James Lowe, Conor Murray, Jean De Villiers, Finn Russell, Mike Brown, Brian O'Driscoll, Tana Umaga and much, much more.