Conor Murray was one of the injury concerns coming out of Ireland’s record defeat to England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Murray and Cian Healy both left the fray earlier than expected and in the Limerick man’s case, it was getting caught on wrong side of tackling England winger Jonny May which caused the damage.
May’s elbow made contact with Murray’s head but thankfully the Munster scrum-half passed all stages of the HIA assessment and he trained fully on Monday and Tuesday of this week.
“I’m good, yeah, got a bit of a scare, to be honest,” Murray said at the launch of the Aviva Mini Rugby Nations Cup.
“I Just got my head on the wrong side of a tackle. It’s hard. For me especially, it’s a work on. Just trying to get my head and feet right. It’s tough in the wider channels when you’re thinking someone like Jonny May who is really quick and you don’t want to get beaten on the outside and he steps back inside. Just got a bit of a bang, passed everything, passed the HIA and stuff, thankfully. Trained fully Monday and yesterday.”
Like all players who are currently in the Ireland squad, there will be a level of fear associated with picking up an injury with the World Cup just around the corner.
For Murray, those thoughts were rushing through his head as he lay on the Twickenham turf.
“Yeah, that’s just natural in my head and I presume anyone who gets a bang between now and when the plane sets off is going to be worried about it because it’s such a big thing.
“We’ve had a great eight-week block of preseason and everyone is feeling great, whatever happened on Saturday happened but the opportunity to go to a World Cup is so big. I know I’ve been to two and been really lucky to but this just has a bit of a different feeling.
“You’re kind of more aware, you’re more motivated so to have a bit of a scare, that might…thankfully not but when you do get a bang you probably overthink it a little bit. So that was the case. Like I said, I trained Monday, Tuesday so all is well.”
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt made an unexpected appearance in front of the media on Tuesday as he tried to explain the reason for the heavy defeat on Saturday.
Schmidt said the performance was “unacceptable” and that there were no mitigating factors which could be used as a reason for the manner of the defeat.
Schmidt was blunt in his assessment of Ireland's performance on Saturdayhttps://t.co/NOhy5W0ROw
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) August 27, 2019
Murray says that Ireland won’t make peace with the defeat but rather use it as motivation for putting in an improved performance against Wales in Cardiff this weekend.
“You don’t (make peace with it). You wear it for a long time, don’t you? That was our record defeat. It was a really tough week. Very honest couple of days in the review room trying to iron out the mistakes. It was a really tough week to be honest. It’s England away. We did a great eight-week block of preseason and we were feeling really good but for reasons we have looked at, for reasons that are fixable, for that amount of things to go wrong and look flat and look tired was concerning but not to the point that we can’t fix it.
“It’s not an excuse but it was a lot of lads first game in. Lots of lads looked fatigued. That’s where that excuse ends. Lots of uncharacteristic errors. Straight up missed tackles. Itoje walked in nearly untouched. Cokanasiga for another one.
“The hookers, the callers, the jumpers are working really hard to fix that. That’s the beauty of having a game this week but you wear that for a long time. That was embarrassing.”
The priority for Murray and the rest of the Ireland squad for the coming weeks is producing a performance to get the confidence levels up ahead of the pool opener against Scotland on September 22.
“You need to just get performances. Perform to the level we’re capable of performing to, usually, the rest looks after itself. Getting things right, getting your own role in a flow with your teammates and being on the same page.
“At the weekend, we looked like we were on different pages at times in defence, more often than not. That’s been a really strong point, we prepared really well. Maybe it was just people different speeds with that tiredness or whatever it was.
“Performances are the key to this and then results will come, no question.”
Aviva, proud supporters of Irish Rugby are celebrating this year’s Rugby World Cup by offering Mini’s players around the country the opportunity to play their own Mini Rugby Nations Cup while the Irish Team are away at the RWC in Japan.
Aviva is searching for 20 Boys’ U10 and Girls’ U12 teams who will be twinned with a RWC team each at the tournament, which will be played at Aviva Stadium on Sunday, September 22 – the same day as Ireland’s opening RWC clash against Scotland.