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01st Jul 2017

Owen Farrell knew exactly what he was doing in the build-up to Conor Murray’s try

Subtle, but damn effective

Patrick McCarry

You’d have to have your eyes peeled for this one.

Rugby players themselves are as smart as they come with cheeky moves, blocks and actions that can have a massive impact on the game.

A great example of that was the Conor Murray try that got the Lions level at 21-21 before Owen Farrell kicked them to victory over New Zealand.

On first viewing, the try comes about from Jamie George making a line break after a smart Johnny Sexton pass, then Murray arriving at the scene, faking a pass and pinning his ears back.

Take another look and both Sexton and Owen Farrell play crucial roles in making that gap a little bit wider for Murray to burst through.

Sexton is looking for the offload for a canter-in try but his work does not finish when George goes to ground. He will later block Ardie Savea off. Farrell, meanwhile, will take care of TJ Perenara:

With Jack McGrath and Farrell clearing out, Murray makes the feint to his right. Sexton [circled below] steps ever so slightly into Savea’s path:

Farrell, meanwhile, grabs a hold of Perenara’s ankle and forces him to take a step away to break free, freeing up space for the upcoming dash of his scrum-half.

Perenara has shaken Farrell off his ankle but, in doing so, is too far to his left. By the time he and Savea reach Murray he has only two metres to go to the tryline.

His momentum carries him over and the Lions are 19-21 behind. Farrell nails the conversion from a narrow angle and all the momentum is with the tourists.

Here’s how the whole play unfolded:


We’re not sure what the Kiwis would make of it – and Perenara was complaining at the time – but Lions fans will love it.

It’s the little, canny plays that can often make the difference.