Conor Murray admits focus is on Scotland and not past World Cups

Alan English in Japan

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Alan English in Japan

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Conor Murray admits focus is on Scotland and not past World Cups

Conor Murray at Ireland's team run this weekend

Conor Murray is the only survivor in back line from Ireland's quarter final loss to Argentina four years ago in Cardiff and the Limerick number nine believes that it would be wrong to look back, rather than forward to this weekend. 

“We had a few injuries the last time we played a Rugby World Cup game so a few lads to come back in and a few lads who have come into the squad and done really well and made an impression. It's quite a settled squad that we have.

"It is a different group. I've talked about it any time I've done media before the World Cup, the last four years and what we have done and the results we have had. It would be foolish of us now to start talking about 2015 within the group.

“Our focus is obviously on Scotland, what we can achieve as a team and how we can achieve it. We know how good we can be when we perform and are on song. There is plenty of confidence and belief in each other that we can go out and do a job if we get things right.”

Eight of Ireland's starters and all of the subs have never played in a Rugby World Cup before. Murray was asked whether this would be an issue for his side.

“Your preparation is slightly different. You are in a foreign country, the atmosphere will be slightly different and it is about how you deal with all those things. But in terms of our preparation and our training it has been a test match week and we all know how to go about that. It will be a new feeling for a lot of lads but for all of us this is a very different country and getting used to that takes a bit of time but we have been here just over a week now so we are settled into the time zones and everything like that. There is a good buzz around the squad to get going.”

So, has anyone got lost in Japan?

 “There has been a few interesting taxi trips home from restaurants and coffee shops but Google Maps is brilliant these days so the phone will get you most places. We have been really well briefed, and in terms of the culture and how to be polite. Really nice people, really welcoming and they can't do enough for you. It's a really cool place to be.”

The surroundings might be new, but a World Cup is not to Murray. Japan will be his third tournament. 

“Someone said it to me recently but I hadn't thought about it. No. It's just been next game, next competition. It's cool. The first one I snuck in there quite late with the end-of-season run with Munster and really enjoyed it. The last World Cup we had really big plans and this feels a bit different. The squad is more settled and I go back the last four years again to what we have gone through. I'm eager to get out and see what kind of performance we can put together cos it is really exciting. It's a group of players that have been through an awful lot together. It's a huge game. Massive game. Scotland will be so well prepped, they are a really good side. They don't go away easily and it is a huge opening game.”

Murray does not need any reminding about how dangerous Scotland can be. A 2017 defeat in Murrayfield is a warning of what can go wrong against the Scots.

"Look, we started slowly that day.  They managed to find a lot space out wide. A couple of those clips have come up in our preview, just throughout the years of playing Scotland, the different types of games we’ve been through with them and that’s one that sticks out. Even the games we’ve won, they’re such a dangerous side. They missed a couple of opportunities the last time we played them in Murrayfield. We got a few good tries ourselves which kind of gave us a little bit of a stretch on the scoreboard, but they had chances too. Like I said, they’re a dangerous side, one that you do not take lightly at all. It’s going to be a massive Test"