Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Murray confident wingers can be tamed

Conor Murray is confident Ireland can get the better of Wales down the flanks

Conor Murray has warned Welsh giants Alex Cuthbert and George North that Ireland's less imposing wings will withstand the brutish assault they can expect in Cardiff.

A daunting physical mismatch awaits Craig Gilroy and Simon Zebo in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opener with both players conceding at least three inches and two and a half stones to their adversaries. In experience terms they are also trailing, possessing only four caps between them and making their championship debuts while Cuthbert and North have accumulated 29 Test appearances.

Evening the odds, however, are their pace and finishing skills in what should be two fascinating duels between players of contrasting styles all capable of winning a place on the Lions' summer tour to Australia. "Craig and Simon are lethal finishers and are the type of players who can pull out a piece of magic from nowhere," the Munster scrum-half said.

He added: "They have the ability to get us going, put us on the front foot and light up a game. If it's Cuthbert and North they're up against, it will be a huge physical challenge.

"We'll have to make our first up tackles and I don't think Zeebs and Gilroy will shy away from that, they've been making their tackles all year.

"Obviously they came onto the scene because they were try-scoring wings, but their game has come under the microscope a bit more because now they're internationals and they've passed every test they've faced.

"Craig and Simon are very exciting players, but their basics are good too. Their defence has been quite solid all year. It's not just because of their attacking abilities that they are in the team."

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