Ronan O’Gara was on Friday’s OTB AM and believes that Conor Murray may apply a more attacking style of play against the All Blacks.
Former All Blacks scrum-half Justin Marshall was speaking to Eoin Sheahan in Japan and said that Ireland’s gameplan hasn’t helped Murray develop.
"He's ultimately become more of a kicking scrum-half than having all of it together as a balance; defence, a running game, a passing game and the kicking.
"He's gone 70% to being a kicking scrum-half and I don't think that has been good for his game,” Marshall said.
O’Gara believes that the New Zealander may have given Murray a timely reminder that he can utilise his running game to great effect in Saturday’s big game.
“With the way Ireland play and the value they put into their kicking game - yes, he looks like a passing and kicking player. That’s what he’s performed over the last couple of years.
“But someone like Conor - ever since he was a young kid, his big strength was his running game.
“I think he’s got huge value in probably applying Joe [Schmidt’s] principles around the ruck and the kicking game. But I think it could be a timely reminder for himself to have a cut tomorrow,” O’Gara said.
While the former Munster and Ireland fly-half isn’t expecting Ireland to employ a different game than what we’ve seen in recent years, it’s not out of the question for Murray to play with a bit more liberty.
“Justin Marshall saying that could be the accelerator for him to bring it into his game. You’d be surprised how it works.
“It may have been something he hadn’t thought of and now he might be saying, ‘Yeah, I’m going to have a cut tomorrow.’
“But it’s very hard to do that if you’re focused on a ruck policy, which Ireland are,” O’Gara commented.
Ireland will take on the All Blacks tomorrow morning at 11.15am Irish time in Tokyo Stadium with the chance to make history.
If Joe Schmidt’s side are to progress to the World Cup semi-finals for the first time, they will need Conor Murray to be playing to the best of his ability.