Authentic jersey

Conor Murray ‘drives’ to reclaim Ireland’s No.9 shirt as he approaches his 33rd birthday

Conor Murray remains a happy camper as he aims to win back his long-standing starting spot with Ireland in New Zealand.

The veteran Munster star has lost to fast scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park in the last 12 months.

Despite turning 33 next month, Murray is rolling up his sleeves for the selection battle that awaits him as he heads into a century of Irish caps.

“It takes a bit of adjustment, that’s for sure, when you’ve been used to starting for a while,” admitted the triple Lions tourist.

“That’s always the goal. I just want to play as well as possible.

“Jamo has been brilliant, Craig (Casey) has been brilliant. It’s kind of a sidebar – overall the atmosphere and everyone’s desire to do well is real and it’s natural.

“There’s no competition against each other, like not talking and things like that.”

Murray was pleased with his contribution off the bench at Twickenham and at home against Scotland.

His late try last Saturday secured the fourth winning bonus point of the Triple Crown-winning campaign.

It was his 15th try on his 96th appearance for Ireland, his first since the 2019 Six Nations.

The Limerick man is determined to do more.

“We earned bonus points, bonus points, bonus points in the last three games, so it was a good time,” he said.

“I am determined to be as good as possible. I feel like I have a lot to offer.

“Where the chips fall, they will fall. If you don’t start, you have to be the best you can be, try to be world class when you arrive.

“I’m satisfied with the last two weeks. That’s what I’m supposed to do.

“I want to come in and be as good as I can be, and that’s not impersonation or trying to give you a line.

“Craig rode it and you need to be on top of your game.

“You have to offer something, not try to go on your own boat – you want to contribute to what we have going on.”

Murray, who previously played under Declan Kidney and Joe Schmidt, credits Andy Farrell with the key to a happy camp.

“It’s just a great place, a really good environment that Andy and the coaches have created where we improve and keep pushing each other,” he said, echoing the assertion. Peter O’Mahony’s precedent that it is the best he has known. at the test level.

“Everyone is really open, it’s class.

“The key is probably Andy at the helm. It’s very easy to be yourself here.

“I’m obviously experienced and we’ve had great campaigns with different coaches and I don’t want to compare.

“But he created this environment where there are no silly questions, everyone is trying to learn and improve and are really, really open with each other.

“It just helps the group and the way we try to play.

“It’s a very good atmosphere to grow in. You have young players and older players, it’s the same for everyone.”

Irishmen Conor Murray and Jamison-Gibson Park celebrate their victory with the Triple Crown trophy

Murray predicts Farrell will take the opportunity to consider more options when touring New Zealand in July. Ireland will travel with around 42 players while trying to score a first-ever victory there.

“It’s both,” he said. “We are in a very good position and we have a lot more to offer.

“We watched the last three games and got bonus points in the last three, but we were very critical.

“Even on Saturday Scotland hung on but we probably won’t be happy with a lot of things.

“But it will come, that’s the exciting part. We can grow there.

“I didn’t think about winning on New Zealand soil for the first time. This group looks a lot at ourselves and how good we can be.

“But we will definitely start looking at that. The club’s season still has a bit of a way to go, and that’s also very exciting.

“I’ve been there several times and it’s a tough place to travel but there’s no better group I’d like to travel with, everything is going well. It’s good.”