Conor Murray adapting well to his new role as impact replacement

Irish scrumhalf says: ‘When you’re used to starting for a good while that’s still the aim’

As with Cian Healy and Peter O'Mahony, another of the more established Irish players, Conor Murray, has had to adapt a new role as an impact replacement this season. But like them, the three-time Lions tourist has bought into his new role and this squad with gusto.

Until this season, Murray had started in 82 of his first 89 Tests for Ireland, whereas this season he has started one game - the win over Argentina - with last Saturday's Six Nations finale against Scotland his sixth as a replacement.

“It takes a bit of adjustment for sure,” he admitted in the wake of his 15th try for Ireland sealing the 26-5 bonus point win, following on from his influential last quarter in Twickenham.

“When you’re used to starting for a good while that’s definitely still the aim. I just want to be playing good ruby and playing as well as I can. Jamo (Gibson-Park) has been brilliant, Craig (Casey) has been brilliant, so that’s a kind of a side bar.


“Overall, as I’m sure you’ve heard from lads throughout the tournament, the atmosphere and the want from everyone to do well in this group is true and it’s natural. There’s not people competing against each other, like not talking and things like that. There’s none of that.

“Personally I’m driven to be as good as I can be and I feel like I have a lot to offer. I just want to play as best I can. Wherever the chips fall they’ll fall and that’s the way it is, and if you’re not in the starting team you need to be the best you can possibly be - try and be world-class when you come on and give as best you can.


“There’s just a really good atmosphere within the group. We won a Triple Crown and it’s just a great place to be. You’ve heard about Pete O’Mahony loving camp and I think everyone loves coming in here, and it’s just a really good environment that Andy (Farrell) and all the other coaches have created for us where we just get better and keep pushing each other.

“Everyone is just really open, it’s class.”

Murray attributes this to Ireland head coach Andy Farrell.

“It’s very easy to be yourself in here, very easy. I’m obviously experienced and we’ve had great campaigns with different coaches and I don’t want to compare but he’s created this environment where there’s no silly questions. Everyone is trying to learn and get better and are really, really open with each other.

“I think that just helps the group and I think it helps the way we’re trying to play. We’re very much, for the most part, on the same page as each other and that comes from through the week and having chats with each other and being really open, willing to learn and listening to your teammates and coaches.

“You could describe it for a long time but it’s a really good atmosphere to grow in, and you’ve got young players and older players; it’s the same for everyone.”

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times