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19th Mar 2024

TV cameras almost missed Conor Murray’s gesture at the final whistle

Patrick McCarry

Conor Murray

Well aware of what time it was.

Ahead of the 2024 Six Nations finale, for Ireland, against Scotland, Andy Farrell had spoken out in defence of his scrumhalf, Conor Murray.

The Munster star had copped an disproportionate amount of the blame for Ireland’s 23-22 defeat to England, at Twickenham, after kicking possession away with 90 seconds to play. England subsequently won their own lineout and cut through the Irish defence in two devastating phases of attack. A penalty was coming their away, then another, before Marcus Smith took advantage of play raging on right by the Irish posts to slot a winning drop goal.

On House of Rugby, former Leicester and Munster back, Johne Murphy expertly talked rugby fans through the process of that decision to kick, and how Murray’s teammates could have backed him up. “I personally think you have to kick the ball there,” Murphy stated.

“Jjust the way the referees are at the moment… It’s a phase call that is being called by your 10 (Crowley) there, in the set-up. Your lineout is called, five-plus-one and Doris goes in to lift when the ball is in the air. They play to the 15 – it’s not really the correct angle there and they didn’t even give Murray enough time, at the ruck, to take another step and go further.”

Andy Farrell also came out to with a pre-match rebuke to anyone that doubted Murray, and the work required to be in this Ireland squad. Farrell declared:

“[The criticism] is certainly unfair because this is the way of the world, and you’ll agree with me on this, that the more successful some people are, the more people – I don’t know what the word is – other than get p****d off with success, longevity, people staying at the top as long as they possibly can,”

“Everybody always wanting somebody else to come in and a new fresh young rookie to light everything up. It takes an unbelievable amount of dedication and courage to stay at the top and keep riding with the punches, throughout a long career that’s been so successful for somebody with 120- odd caps like Conor.”

Fast-forward to Saturday’s game against Scotland and Conor Murray was on the pitch for the closing stages. Ireland looked home and hosed after Andrew Porter’s try had made it 17-6 but they had a Robbie Henshaw effort denied by referee Matthew Carley and his TMO. The Scots then make it nervy when Huw Jone slalomed through the Irish defence for a converted try that made it 17-13.

Ireland did well to control the game in the final four minutes, though, and when the clock went red, Conor Murray fed James Lowe to boot the ball off the pitch, and into the stands.

TV cameras caught only part of Murray’s ecstatic celebrations as he pointed to his wrist, as if intimating he was well aware of how much time was left. You can see it below or from 2:50 in the Six Nations match highlights.

Conor Murray and a massive Six Nations achievement

Conor Murray is now one of only five players to have won Six Nations winners’ medals on five occasions. The others are Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Robbie Henshaw and captain Peter O’Mahony.

Healy was actually part of the 2009 Six Nations squad – the year Ireland won their second ever Grand Slam – but he did not play in any of the Tests.


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