Joe Schmidt reveals who decided Conor Murray would kick Ireland's final penalty 1 year ago

Joe Schmidt reveals who decided Conor Murray would kick Ireland's final penalty

Is there anything that Conor Murray can't do?!

Lineout jumper, line-breaker, box-kicker, tempo dictator, try-scorer, big-tackler, goal-kicker... match-winner. Conor Murray is building a tidy legend for himself.

In the red of Munster, green of Ireland and for the Lions, Murray is producing the goods. The Limerick native is, without doubt, the best No.9 in world rugby and he keeps adding strings to his bow.

Johnny Sexton had the nation fretting with a strangely indifferent kicking display that included four misses that cost his team 10 points. Two were from the touchline but the other two should have gone over. That they did not let Wales off the hook and upset Ireland's tempo.

Sexton still had a fine game, aside from off the tee, and was crucial in his side streak ahead of Warren Gatland's side. He was clearly carrying a knock, or two, and a big moment arrived with Ireland 27-20 ahead.

At Soldier Field, with Sexton down getting treatment, Murray stepped up to nail a penalty that gave his team much-needed breathing room against the All Blacks.

With Ireland just seven clear of the Welsh with five minutes to go, Murray was asked to step up again.

Not a bother to him.

The stadium fell silent, save for a few dissenting Welsh voices, while Murray lined up a kick that was 30 metres out and to the right of the posts. Johnny Sexton was still on the pitch but Joey Carbery was being readied to come on. Fergus McFadden has kicked plenty of points for Leinster but Murray had this.

Murray had taken a few penalties for Munster during their Champions Cup loss to Racing 92, in Paris. Only one had gone over but it was a yard over the halfway line. The confidence is rarely lacking but many worried if Murray would have the required technique after 75 minutes where he barely had a moment to catch his breath.

They need not have worried. Murray got the full return of three points from the penalty that John Ryan superbly won in the preceding scrum:

Following his side's 37-27 victory, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt explained the decision behind Murray taking that crucial penalty.

It appears that the decision was taken for Sexton by Schmidt. The Ireland coach said had 'a sore glute' and the call for someone other than the No.10 came from the sideline. Schmidt commented:

"Johnny took a lot of contact today. I don't know if you saw it today but Johnny wanted to carry...

"Johnny just got a knock but he decided he was going to carry today an play like a big man, which he did admirably down the right stage where he picked and went.

"He probably had a bit more contact than normal. He brought other players into the game, the timing of his pass to Rob Kearney was excellent, allowing him to target the inside shoulder... It was the full gambit, unfortunately today his goal-kicking was not what it normally is.

"To draw on a golfing analogy, he may have driven well off the tee and had some good short irons but his putting game was off today."

So, with Ireland needing that penalty to raise the officials' flags and go two scores clear, the call came out - Murray is taking this.

Luckily for Ireland, Murray produced the goods again.