WHAT’S UP WITH Conor Murray?
It’s a question that has been asked many times during this Six Nations.
He’s still carrying an injury. He’s lost focus. His skills have gone backwards.
The suggestions and theories have been plentiful, although they have eased in the wake of Ireland’s win over France on Sunday.
The Munster man has been doing his best to ignore the debate around his form. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
The man himself has been doing his best to ignore the chat, convinced that he has only been marginally off the kind of form he delivered during Ireland’s Grand Slam run last year.
“Genuinely, I don’t see media and I think it is really important for me not to,” said Murray yesterday when asked how he has felt about the fretting over his form.
“Punters, well, they listen to the media. I suppose you feel it when your family is asking you how you are.
“I have felt good, I have felt really good. During that time, you have to stay realistic and focus on what hasn’t been working.
“They’ve been small things, things you can easily fix. I wasn’t panicking and changing the way I’ve been training or the way I view the game or putting more pressure on or trying harder within the group.
“My chats to the coaches were small things, small little fixes. You know, maybe, the turnover against [Tito] Tebaldi in the Italy game had a massive effect. They ended up going the length of the pitch and scoring a try.
“That is a small thing but obviously a big effect.”
Murray’s game has been under more scrutiny than ever since Ireland’s defeat to England on the opening day of the championship.
Every pass, every kick, every carry, every decision, every tackle.
Murray was in sharp form against France last weekend. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
While many have seen consistent negatives in Murray’s contributions for Ireland, the scrum-half feels that he’s actually in a similar place to this time last year. He hopes to finish this Six Nations with his best performance yet against Wales on Saturday.
“I’m really realistic, I’m really honest with myself,” said Murray. “I’m working with a couple of video analysts in here and in Munster.
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“I’m looking at my game in detail and it hasn’t been much different, I’m sorry to tell you.
“Actually I’m not sorry to tell you, but it genuinely hasn’t. There’s been a few things I would have been upset with over the tournament. You can talk about form and what is form? It’s small things.
“Confidence-wise, obviously, you are trying to get to the level that you’re used to. In reality, it is only small little details that we’ve been working on and trying to fix.