Rugby

'Conor Murray had his best game in 12 months' | Keith Wood

Ryan Clarke
Ryan Clarke

07:11 10 Feb 2020

Keith Wood is encouraged by the signs of progress Ireland made in their bonus point victory over Wales last Saturday.

Speaking on Off The Ball’s Monday Night Rugby, Wood said that he enjoyed the adverse conditions the game was played in, admitting that it was “old school.”

“I thought we were exciting and I thought we tried different things that put us under pressure and some of them worked and some of them didn’t work.

“They’ve some nice little moves around the lineout in which they interplay around the front for the try that Larmour scored.

“The play before that was very interesting, it had a lot of moving parts which was nice. 

“I feel as if players are coming from deeper, it seems just a tiny bit more natural and a little bit old fashioned,” said the former Ireland captain.

Before the tournament began a big debate surrounding the team was who should wear the number 9 jersey - Conor Murray or John Cooney.

Keith Wood admitted that he thought Conor Murray had his best game in 12 months against Wales.

“The front five put down a good foundation. The front five, the pack, played really well.

“I do think it made it an awful lot easier for Conor Murray, so Conor was running onto the ball and I thought Conor had his best game in over 12 months.

“He looked in control, he looked very well and there were always people there as an option for him.

“That’s very hard, when you’re digging for the ball, to say that you have an option because everyone stops and readjusts,” Wood said.

Wood admitted that at times commenting on the change in style for Ireland can be perceived as a criticism of Joe Schmidt, but he was quick to outline that is not the case.

“It is a recognition that a new coach will bring change and that change is new and exciting for people who’ve never seen it before.

“That idea of looking for a cut, looking for an offload, of having trail runners - that to me seems to be different from what we already had because it was very formulaic, ‘this is what we’ll do for these phases.

“So, I think it’s been built on the back of what’s happened before and I think guys are being allowed to test their skill set on an international level, which is quite hard and I don’t know if that would’ve been allowed before,” he said.

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