Sunday 24 February 2019

Murray: We have to forget the occasion and go after it

Champions Cup: Racing v Munster (Sun, KO 3.15, BT Sport 3)

Conor Murray
Conor Murray

For all of the positivity generated by Rassie Erasmus at Munster, the South African never quite believed in what he preached.

When it came to the Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens and the PRO12 final against Scarlets last season, there was a policy of containment.

The appointment of Johann van Graan has led to a more positive outlook from the province and sees them face Racing 92 in Bordeaux on Sunday with a Champions Cup final spot up for grabs.

Grand Slam-winning scrum-half Conor Murray knows what it takes to make things happen.

There is only so much heartbreak and frustration any man can take, especially in the storied red shirt, and Murray has had his share.

Munster have bitten the dust in two quarter-finals and five semi-finals since their second European Cup a decade ago.

"The amount of players in our squad who have been through semi-final defeats, two or three at this stage, four for some."

The impression is of a group of players that are tired of waiting for something to happen.

"This is a game we are going to have to go and attack and not leave anything behind," Murray added.

"Last year, we had a few regrets that we didn't play against Saracens.

"We kind of waited to see what would happen."

"From playing in big games, the ones you win are the ones you don't stop playing.

"They are the ones where you almost forget about the occasion and you just go after it. This is a game we need to go and attack.

"In a romantic way, that will be in the back of our heads. We've got to go and get this and have no fear."

Meanwhile, All Blacks great Dan Carter says he is more motivated than ever as he looks to end his top-level career by winning the Champions Cup with Racing.

And despite being in the twilight of his career, the 36-year-old has vowed not to let up.

"I've been able to win plenty of trophies, and there is no better feeling in rugby," he said.

Carter added: "I'm 36 and I may not be playing the best rugby of my career, but I still feel I have got a lot to add, and the individual is nothing without the team.

After guiding New Zealand to World Cup glory in 2015, Carter has spent three seasons in France before he winds down his career in Japan.

He retired from international rugby following the World Cup, having scored an all-time record 1,598 Test points.

"I've got my last couple of months here, and I'm not going to slacken off. I'm going to work harder than ever," he said.

Carter came off the bench to match-changing effect against Clermont in the quarter-finals and is likely to again be among the replacements against Munster, with former Springbok Patrick Lambie starting at fly-half.

"I could be sitting here being annoyed about being on the bench, but it's not like that for me," Carter said.

"The game has changed so much that replacements are sometimes just as important."

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