Laidlaw promises no let-up for Ireland star Murray

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 20:04

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has told rival scrumhalf Conor Murray to expect another tough encounter when Ireland open their Six Nations campaign at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Murray believed his standing leg had been deliberately targeted while kicking during Munster's Champions Cup clash against Glasgow at Scotstoun on January 14.

Glasgow, however, were adamant that while forceful there was nothing outside the laws of the game in their treatment of Murray, a view backed up by Laidlaw, who plays his club rugby in England for Gloucester.

"Glasgow did everything within the rules of the game," Laidlaw said Tuesday. "As a nine [scrumhalf] you are always going to get teams putting pressure on you.

"In that game, Glasgow got a a charge down on him but they were trying to get the ball back - they weren't trying to deliberately injure the player.

"Will we be putting pressure on him? For sure we will. He's not going to come to Murrayfield and get an armchair ride.

"We need to do that to every Irish player, but we can expect the same back, I'm sure."

Murray's task wasn't made any easier when Ireland announced Tuesday that his regular partner in the backline Jonathan Sexton had been ruled out of the Scotland showdown with a calf injury.

But Laidlaw warned Scotland against getting too carried away by the absence of the British and Irish Lions flyhalf. 

"He has been struggling with injury so Ireland will probably have known that he wouldn't make Saturday a lot longer than we have," Laidlaw said. "I'm sure they have been training to cover that up.

"They have quality in behind, whether it be Paddy Jackson or the young fella coming in from Munster [Rory Scannell].

"Their strength in depth is one of their keys to Ireland's recent success.

"Sexton is a quality player of course, but we can't focus on one player. We just need to fixate on ourselves and get that part right first and foremost.

"It won't affect us. We have done some in-depth analysis and we have a game plan we believe can give us the best possible chance of winning."

Agence France-Presse

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