Ireland's Murray gunning top spot

Sat, 27 Jan 2018 16:01

SIX NATIONS SPOTLIGHT: The Irish rugby team are no longer satisfied with finishing second, the only thing that counts is winning the Six Nations, their star scrumhalf Conor Murray revealed.

The 28-year-old - who was a standout performer for the British & Irish Lions in their drawn three-Test series with world champions New Zealand last year - says the mindset has completely changed since Kiwi Joe Schmidt took over the coaching reins in 2013.

That has been reflected in not only two successive Six Nations titles (2014/15) but also beat all the southern hemisphere powerhouses including the emotionally-charged historic victory over the All Blacks in 2016.

The Irish are many people's favourites to regain the Six Nations title this year - England have won the last two though Ireland prevented them from successive Grand Slams with a stirring win in Dublin last year - Murray still believes Eddie Jones's English side are a step up from them.  

"We have matured and progressed, not to the level England have, but we finished second last year and were pissed off," said Murray.

"In years gone by we'd have said we had a decent Six Nations. We don't go on about wanting to be the best team in the world but we do not prepare just to give it a go. Those days are long gone."

Murray, whose world-class halfback pairing with Johnny Sexton will be pivotal to Irish chances of dethroning England, says despite the lofty ambitions he has both at national and provincial level the death of his then Munster coach Anthony 'Axel' Foley made him take stock of the pressure he was putting on himself.

Foley, a robust back row forward for Munster and Ireland in his playing days, was found dead aged just 42 due to a pulmonary oedema in his Paris hotel room on the day of a European Champions Cup match in 2016.      

"Axel's passing has had a massive impact on me and it will be the same for thousands of people with Dolores (Riordan the Cranberries singer who also hailed from Munster and was found dead in her London hotel room this month)," said Murray.

"When you see something like that happen to a guy like that, it made me think you just don't know when this is ending.

"There have been times when I have put way too much pressure on myself. If something went wrong, if I passed the ball along the ground or kicked it out on the full, I would dwell on it. It would take me five days to speak to my family.

“I used to write everything down in a book and make sure it was all really neat. Perfectionism is not a healthy thing.

"One game I just said, Stuff that'. You are supposed to enjoy this,"

Agence France-Presse

Ireland vs Wales
sast: 16h15 | local: 14h15

  • 0 | 0
LIVE
Lions vs Jaguares
sast: 15h05 | local: 15h05

  • 19 | 10
LIVE
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 24 February 2018
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Bath v Sale Sharks 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
Fri, 02 March 2018
Blues v Chiefs 06h35 Eden Park
Reds v Brumbies 09h00 Suncorp Stadium
Kings v Dragons 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Edinburgh v Munster 19h35 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Harlequins v Bath 19h45 Twickenham Stoop
Sat, 03 March 2018
Sunwolves v Rebels 22h00 Tokyo
Crusaders v Stormers 06h35 Christchurch
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 24 February 2018
Waratahs v Stormers 34 | 27
Crusaders v Chiefs 45 | 23
Sunwolves v Brumbies 25 | 32
Fri, 23 February 2018
France v Italy 34 | 17
Leinster v Kings 64 | 7
Dragons v Edinburgh 12 | 25
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 21 | 10
Rebels v Reds 45 | 19
Highlanders v Blues 41 | 34
Mon, 19 February 2018
NWU-Pukke v UJ 18 | 15
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 27 | 32
Maties v CUT-Ixias 75 | 12
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 29 | 32
Sun, 18 February 2018
Dragons v Treviso 15 | 18
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13 | 7
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 2 2 0 0 9
England 2 2 0 0 9
Wales 2 1 0 1 6
France 3 1 0 2 6
Scotland 2 1 0 1 4
Italy 3 0 0 3 0