Murray wary of Boks’ physicality

Date published: November 4 2014

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Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray believes his side will lose if they try to match the Springboks’ physicality in Dublin on Saturday.

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray believes his side will lose if they try to match the Springboks’ physicality in Dublin on Saturday.

The Six Nations champions will take on the Boks without injured stalwarts like loosehead prop Cian Healy and back-row Sean O’Brien but Murray believes that the duo’s absence will not alter the men from the Emerald Isle’s game-plan this weekend.

“Even if Sean and Cian were here, you still probably wouldn’t look to run through South Africa,” he told the Irish Times.

“They get off their line hard and make their hits. You’re going to be on the back foot. South Africa is a team of really big ball carriers, big hitters.

“Running through them is not something we’d want to do.

“I think we still have really good ball carriers, who can fill their [Healy and O’Brien’s] shoes throughout the pack. I don’t think it’s an issue.”

The Boks thrive on dominating their opponents in contact situations but Murray believes Ireland have a plan to avoid that and to get the better of their opponents.

“Obviously, instead of carrying into a big man it’s about stepping, finding a soft-shoulder and being a bit smarter, maybe having a few micro-plays that we’re looking to play just to drag them out of the line and to create a few softer gaps for us,” he added.

The 25-year-old believes Ireland’s players are now settling into head coach Joe Schmidt’s way of thinking and the way he wants the team to play.

“I’ve had my fair share of new coaches over the last four years,” added Murray.

“This time last year we were, not feeling Joe out, but we were unsure how he wanted us to play and what he thought of you as a player.

“A year down the line you are under no illusions as to what he thinks of you and how he wants you to play.

“That’s a good place to be and we are a more confident squad looking back on what we did last year and especially coming so close [to beating New Zealand].”

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