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Murray: Young lads must step up

CONOR MURRAY believes he and other emerging Munster talent must step up to the mark against Racing Metro this weekend if they are to have a chance of making the final eight of the Heineken Cup.

Murray, Simon Zebo, Peter O'Mahony and Dave Kilcoyne have established themselves in Rob Penney's starting XV and Murray thinks it's time they became talismanic leaders of the team.

"There is a new group of players here and there are some older players pushing on and we need to take responsibility. This is probably our biggest chance to set the tone for the future," he said.

After failing to get a bonus point in last weekend's victory over Edinburgh, Murray and Munster are acutely aware of the pressure they are under going into the make-or-break tie with Racing at Thomond Park.


"To be honest, it is going to be one of the biggest games we (the younger generation) will have played for Munster to date, so that carries nerves with it, but it is exciting," said Murray.

"There's already a lot on Twitter with fans getting ready for the game and a huge level of support there, so obviously there's going to be pressure, but it should be a great day out.

"And if we're going to be missing another more senior figure (Ronan O'Gara), it's going to be on us that bit more. But that's challenging and exciting and, if there's pressure on us, it means it's an important game and if you do perform, you're going to enjoy the rewards from it."

Meanwhile, England players will receive £15,000 a Test as part of a new pay deal struck with the RFU. The four-year agreement will see a lump sum paid to players in each 23-man matchday squad, comprising a £7,000 match fee, £7,000 image-rights payment and new £1,000 training fee.