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24th Mar 2015

Conor Murray deserves to be Six Nations Player of the Tournament because…

... of his hops after box-kicks


Behind every great scrumhalf, stands an eternally grateful outhalf.

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton went into the 2015 Six Nations as the northern hemisphere’s premier half-back combination. The Championship saw the emergence of two huge rivals – Webb & Biggar (Wales) and Youngs & Ford (England).

The fact that the Irishmen emerged on top and with another winners’ medal to dangle off their respective mantlepieces speaks volumes for the class, guts, skill and air-miles they put on the ball.

Voting closes for the official Six Nations Player of the Tournament at midnight on Wednesday. The result will be announced on Friday. One of three Irish nominees, here is why Murray deserves to win…

Sexton misses out on the nominations but Murray is right in the mix. A World Cup bolter in 2011, the Munster scrumhalf has long been a leader within the Irish set-up. He is a candidate to captain his country in the future and has earned the respect of each and every team-mate.

Ever since he added try-scoring to his international game, against the All Blacks in 2012, Murray has moved from a pack motivator and box-kicker. He is a genuine threat with ball in hand. Not at the Eoin Reddan level of sniping just yet but this try against Italy was very important and mixed opportunism with strength.

Murray bombarded France, then England with accurate, steepling box-kicks and aerial punts that often won his team territory and possession.

In line with a change of tactics against Wales, Murray passed 97% of the time he got the ball. The running game back-fired, as did just about everything else Ireland could muster in Cardiff.

He was back on form against Scotland and set up Sean O’Brien for one of his tries, as well as running an extremely incisive and daring backline. His defence was good all tournament – landing 27 of his 32 tackles – and he even managed a turnover against the French.

The final, and most compelling reason has to be The Murray Bounce, the quirky little hops the Limerick native unfurls after launching most of his kicks out of hand.

Voting for the official Six Nations Player of the Tournament closes at midnight on Wednesday. You can cast your vote right here

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