Ireland need to step it up another notch against Wales insists Conor Murray

Conor Murray
Conor Murray

Ireland and British Lions scrum half Connor Murray knows Joe Schmidt’s men must up their performance level if they want to beat Wales in Dublin on Saturday.

Ireland top the Six Nations table after the opening weekend courtesy of a 28-6 win over Scotland and despite outscoring the visitors by three tries to none Murray admits it was far from a complete performance.

“You are not going to go around patting each other on the back after a win like that. There are areas that didn’t work quite well, things that didn’t come off,” said Murray.

“So, there’s always things to improve on and that is a good mindset to have as a coach. You are not going to get carried away.”

“There’s always something to work on, you can’t think you are on top of the world after beating Scotland, there’s always plenty to improve.”

Murray was happy with certain aspects of Ireland’s game.

“With Rob’s try we held onto the ball and Scotland were making it difficult for us for large portions of the game at the breakdown, slowing down our ball and we knew it would take a good number of phases to break them down and that is what happened, that is a pleasing aspect.”

“We kept them out a number of times in the first half. They nearly snuck in at the corner at one stage (through David Denton).”

“We had good confidence in our defence at that time and then to go back up and obviously for Trimby to get through was a nice way to finish the first half and go in on a high which was pretty important.”

“It’s never in the bag out there. You always feel under pressure the more we wanted to keep playing, developing our game and try to hold onto the ball, get through our phases and create more chances, there are things to work on, but at times we did feel quite good.”

Wales are chasing a third consecutive Championship, there only defeat in last year’s Six Nations came against Ireland at the Millennium Stadium.

“Wales are a completely different team, they will offer completely different threats that we are going to have to try and nullify.”

“It is a completely different set up this week against Wales, they struggled a little bit in the first half (against Italy) and then they seemed like they weren’t in top gear at times.”

“They still managed to get through Saturday, we know how good they are and especially from the summer, the threats they bring from all over the park, it is going to be a tough one.”

Murray is enjoying life under the new Joe Schmidt regime.

“We have had a few get-togethers and there would be a few phone calls here and there if there is something that you need to work on.”

“At the same time you are back with your province and you are concentrating on Europe or the Rabo and he does give you that space as well. If he feels the need to contact you and maybe tell you to improve on something, that is okay. It will only benefit your province as well.”

“Joe has a great knowledge of each player and what your strengths and weaknesses are, so he is always chatting to you and trying to get your point of view on certain aspects of the game. He gives me little things to work on and I’m enjoying it.

“Whether it be my passing, kicking or how I read the game, he has given me things to work on, how I see the game unfolding and how I can influence things.”