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11th Nov 2018

Ireland to let Conor Murray decide if he wants to face All Blacks

Patrick McCarry

Tries for Kieran Marmion and Luke McGrath but Conor Murray is going to end up in a lot of headlines

Joe Schmidt offered an interesting update on Conor Murray after Ireland’s 28-17 win over Argentina at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday afternoon.

Following the game, in which Marmion, McGrath and Bundee Aki all scored tries, Schmidt was asked if Murray – out all season with a neck injury – would come back into the selection mix for next weekend.

“I’m going to chat to Conor and see how he is,” he said. “It will really be Conor’s call, so I can’t answer that until I’ve chatted to him.”

Pressed on what would be a huge comeback for the Munster scrum-half, Schmidt said:

“Well, again, it was really to take the pressure off him.

“There was no compulsion to push himself forward or to come out and try to force himself into the frame, unless he’s super comfortable. Because we’ve got three guys doing a good job. The window of opportunity for us is fantastic for those guys to demonstrate they can do a good job at the level.

“But Conor has that incredible capacity to exit us well, give us the free-flow and whip out a pass that makes him a world-class player.

“So those other guys are building towards that, and the best way to towards that is in the cauldron of Test match pressure.”

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has called the Murray absence a “trick”, but Schmidt has dismissed that notion.

“It’s not the injury,” he stated. “It’s really just how ready Conor is. How fully fit he is. Because the injury itself has gone really well… So it is tough to come back into a game of that magnitude though.

“It is highly unlikely he will be involved, but as I said, I will talk to him.”

All eyes will be on the Irish base at Carton House on Sunday evening and Monday morning. If Murray is there, the All Blacks may get a jolt.