Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Ireland in 'good place' - Murray

Conor Murray is confident ahead of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations clash with Scotland
Conor Murray is confident ahead of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations clash with Scotland

Conor Murray insists Ireland are in a "good place" despite experiencing contrasting emotions after two rounds of their RBS 6 Nations campaign.

An encouraging opening-day victory over Wales was followed by an error-strew display of tactical naivety in losing 12-6 to England, a result that has transformed Sunday's clash with Scotland into a must-win encounter. Injury and suspension is undermining what is a critical Six Nations in the reign of head coach Declan Kidney, whose contract expires after the tournament.

Murray, who will be winning his 17th cap on Sunday, insists spirits remain high, and the Munster scrum-half said: "The atmosphere is good. It was tough to lose to England at home, but overall there's a good positive vibe around the camp."

He added: "One loss doesn't suddenly turn you into a bad team. We've been playing quite well. We're in a good place.

"It was a hard defeat to take because it was a tight game. When we took it back to 6-6 it could have gone either way. But we want to forget about England and concentrate on playing Scotland with a lot of confidence, like we should do.

"There are a few injuries but that means there will be some new faces in the squad, which is exciting.

"You try not to have injuries but they're part and parcel of the game. The players coming in have been around the squad a while and have fitted in seamlessly."

Ireland have won on their last five trips to Edinburgh in the Six Nations with Scotland's only victory in the fixture arriving at Croke Park in 2010.

Kidney has selected uncapped Ulster duo Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall at fly-half and inside centre respectively to replace the injured Jonathan Sexton and Gordon D'Arcy.

Meanwhile, Ireland and Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris has suffered a setback in his recovery from an ankle problem which has seen him ruled out since November. The 27-year-old underwent surgery in December after he sustained tendon damage to his ankle during Ulster's RaboDirect Pro12 match against Edinburgh.

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