Ireland veteran Conor Murray is “buzzing” at the idea of facing the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup this weekend.
It is set to be an almighty match-up between the top-ranked team in the world and the defending champions, with the winner likely to claim top spot in Pool B.
Murray’s side have got off to a brilliant start, registering significant wins against Romania and Tonga in their opening two matches. Meanwhile, the Springboks have two wins from two against Scotland and Romania.
Despite his vast experience of over a century of Tests, Murray expects nerves but also labelled the occasion as one of those players would love to be a part of.
“You’ll be buzzing,” he said. “With nerves, of course. The usual stuff. You’d be afraid if they weren’t there.
“Playing the world champs in Paris, if that doesn’t get you excited, or even like tonight [after the Tonga match], when you’re listening to that atmosphere, one of the lads said it: ‘If you can’t enjoy this, then why are you here?’
“So, you have to embrace it too and enjoy the challenge. It’s going to be a massive challenge, world champions in a World Cup.
“It’s something really exciting.”
The scrum-half is familiar with the Springbok coaches, having played under head coach Jacques Nienaber and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus when the duo were with Munster.
Murray says the familiarity will help, but he expects the coaching duo to have a trick up their sleeve for the battle.
“There is familiarity with having been coached by Jacques [Nienaber] and all the lads,” said Murray.
“But they are the type of guys who come up with new plans and tricky little things in new games, so you have to be prepared for everything.”
“They are a difficult outfit to play against, on both sides of the ball.
“In terms of their defence, you have seen their defence, especially in Twickenham, so we need to try to navigate around that.”