Rugby

Critics do not understand Ireland's 'plan A' - Conor Murray

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

05:42 4 Apr 2019



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Conor Murray has challenged critics of Ireland's tactical plan to explain them in detail, in an interview where he reflects on the Six Nations and looks forward to the World Cup in Japan.

"Average," was Murray's reflection on his Six Nations' performances, but he was a little more contemplative on the fleeting praise and criticism that players get, and looks to treat those two imposters just the same.

"The difference between playing well and people rating whether you had a good game or a bad game is so small. I can have a really good game, and yet throw two bad passes. Say one pass in the opposition 22 and you throw it along the ground - suddenly, it is a bad game.

"In my head, I was never that far away from playing well. I kept on working at it during the Six Nations, and I felt like we were getting through it - I felt like after the French game there were results on what we were working on. The Cardiff day was what it was, and after that you just wanted to get away from rugby for a bit.

"It is small margins. That is why I don't get bogged down by it" said Murray on external criticism - and this goes for comments about a perceived lack of a backup plan for the Ireland squad; an idea that Murray finds ridiculous.

"As a team, I have heard this so many times - that your game is so predictable," said Murray before confirming that these discussions do not go on inside the Ireland camp.

"I would love to see someone's assessment of our plan A, because people have asked about our plan B - but, what's our plan A? I think our plan A is so variable and we can adapt to play loads of different types of rugby. I don't understand when people say 'What's your plan B?' because I would love them to assess our plan A and give it back to us saying 'This is what you do.'

"There are a lot of adaptions that we can bring into our game if we need to.

"Plan A has so many different elements. If we kick and we're not getting any kicks back, we might go to the edge and kick on the edge - which we did towards the latter stages of the Six Nations and got a lot of reward from it. We got in behind teams and put a lot of pressure on teams.

"That is in our armoury. You don't go out and play one way and say 'This is all we're doing'. You think on your feet - that is the way Joe and the staff back us.

Murray was clear to bat away any criticisms of Joe Schmidt being too prescriptive in his game plans, insisting that he and Johnny Sexton enjoy the individual freedoms that they have at provincial level.

"That is something that is out there that is completely false, and I am not just saying that because it is probably what I should say," he says before clarifying that individual mistakes with Ireland are likely to punished more readily.

"Maybe in Munster, if you make a decision in a Pro 14 game that doesn't go well, you may well make it against a lesser team that might not be able to capitalise on it.

"If you make the same mistake in the Six Nations, more often than not, teams are going to capitalise on that."

 

Conor was in town in conjunction with Pinergy, the official energy partner to Munster Rugby.

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