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Monday 11 December 2017

Conor Murray looking for a new experience in England clash

Scrum-half yet to enjoy win against 'Auld Enemy'

Conor Murray
Conor Murray

Ireland are right on the brink of making history.

Ireland are right on the brink of making history.

On Saturday evening, they moved one ahead of the Declan Kidney-led eight-game stretch that included the 2009 Grand Slam.

This teams ranks second in the all-time list to that of the Eddie O'Sullivan crew that strung together ten wins from September 2002 to March 2003.

In truth, these two achievements do not withstand comparison as the record was built on the soft-underfoot foundations of Romania, Russia, Georgia and Fiji.

Ireland have won their last nine internationals and are in unprecedented territory, in terms of those conquered.

"That many games unbeaten is a great place to be, especially in international rugby when every game we play is going to be intense," said Conor Murray.

"To look to the future, we have got to be at our best and of a higher standard again the next time we go out because that record could easily be broken if we take our eye off the ball or we become a little complacent.

"But I can assure you our squad isn't like that," he said.

Scrum-half Murray wasn't there in 2009. He hasn't won a Grand Slam.

hack

Ireland are two up with three to play. Any hack golfer will tell you that is nowhere near the end of the story.

"Two out of two is a good place to be," he considered.

"All the talk will be about the championship and the Grand Slam like it was a couple of years ago when we got off to a good start.

"But being honest, it's game by game. Each game is a completely different challenge, a different game and a different game-plan."

First things first, the scrum-half hasn't even been on a winning side against you know who.

"I haven't beaten England yet in my career. They beat us last year in a hard-fought game and I expect the same again," he said.

"England is the only team in our minds until we play them," said Murray.

What was sufficient to deal with disorganised, disconnected, monstrous France will not be enough against organised, connected, monstrous England.

"It won't be good enough to beat England, I know that," he acknowledged.

"We're going to have to keep on improving. We did step it up a little good from the Italy game. But, there are still a few areas that we need to get right."

The emergence of Jonny May, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph and Luther Burrell under Stuart Lancaster has stoked up England's attacking fire in the wide channels.

"We would probably be punished if we aren't more accurate against England, particularly exiting our own half.

"We gave them (France) a little bit too much ball with too much time and space and they exploited us a few times."

The English will also be just as fit as Ireland. They will not be run off their feet.

Increasingly, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has made it his mission to design game plans to win at the international level.

Nothing else.

Entertainment is for showbusiness. This is the winning business where all that matters is which team has more points on the board when the final whistle is blown.

England look formidable. They are bigger, stronger, faster than Ireland and they are two out of two as well.

This is where a specific, detailed game plan can make all the difference.

"We're winning and we've a week of to re-generate ourselves and have a long look at England.

mindset

"Hopefully, we can put ourselves in a good mindset to take them on.

"We think there is more there and Joe will look at it too and highlight areas where we can improve.

"I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks training and analysing England and getting ourselves in the right frame of mind, and coming up with the game plan to take them on.

"We've got to push on because this competition is very hard to win and every game is completely different."

Next up 'the Auld Enemy' and a new experience for Murray - beating them.

 

SIX NATIONS RUGBY

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