Brian O'Driscoll: "Conor Murray's the smartest No 9 in the world, particularly defensively"

Ex-Ireland captain is also impressed by the centre partnership

BY Raf Diallo 20:24 Friday 11 November 2016, 20:24 11 Nov 2016

Ireland's Conor Murray, Simon Zebo and Jared Payne celebrate winning ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Brian O'Driscoll believes Conor Murray has developed into the smartest scrum-half in world rugby at present. 

The No 9 performed exquisitely against the All-Blacks in the historic victory in Chicago, scoring a clever 33rd minute try to stretch Ireland's first half lead.

Both in attack and in defence, Munster's Murray has been impressive for quite some time and exemplified his qualities in the win over New Zealand.

"We just had this crazy appetite for a hustle defence and I think it was epitomised by Conor Murray. He's the smartest No 9 in the world, particularly defensively," said O'Driscoll.

With Jared Payne and Robbie Henshaw locked on as the main centre partnership for key games, Garry Ringrose has the chance to gain experience with a first start against Canada with the added bonus that he is still young at 21 and has time on his side.

Ireland’s Conor Murray ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

"[Robbie and Jared] compliment each other beautifully. I'm a big fan of Jared full-stop. It doesn't matter if it's 13 or 15. He's unbelievably effective at 13 and that lovely skip pass to [Simon] Zebo that set up essentially that [Conor] Murray tackle that had a knock-on effect to the try - the winning try essentially - he had a big part to play in that," said O'Driscoll on Off The Ball.

As for Ringrose, establishing himself as a impact player from the bench for the big games will be a good platform to start from.

"He's been given a first cap albeit in a lesser game. But at the same time, your first cap means a huge amount to you and it's nice to get going in your international career and there's every likelihood he could be on the bench again next week," he said.

"That's where he really has to be aiming for at the moment because realistically unless there's some injuries, there's going to be no changes - definitely in that back-line anyway." 

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