Conor Murray says Ireland will need to improve to beat England at Twickenham
Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray admits a repeat of the performance which comfortably dispatched Wales will be insufficient to defeat England.
Andy Farrell’s side travel to Twickenham next weekend after starting their Autumn Nations Cup campaign by breezing to a 32-9 victory over the struggling Welsh on Friday evening.
Ireland’s dominant Dublin success – in a game pockmarked by penalties – was a welcome return to winning ways after they agonisingly missed out on the Guinness Six Nations title following a costly loss to France.
While Murray was satisfied to move on from the disappointment suffered in the Stade de France at the end of October, he offered a frank assessment ahead of taking on Eddie Jones’ men.
“We know already that that won’t be good enough at Twickenham but we’ve got to be realistic, we took a step forward,” said the 31-year-old.
“There’s a good feeling in the dressing room, especially that we left a little bit out there and we can make that extra improvement that we will need to do to play at Twickenham and to get a result in Twickenham.
“We know we’ve great potential in this team and in think everyone is searching to reach that which is exciting.”
Murray began on the bench against Wayne Pivac’s side as Jamison Park-Gibson took the number nine jersey to make his first Test start.
The Munster man was eventually brought on to win his 84th cap in the unfamiliar role of fly-half after injuries forced off captain Johnny Sexton and debutant Billy Burns.
With head coach Farrell seeking to give opportunities to peripheral members of his squad, Murray offered a diplomatic response to losing his starting spot.
“You’ve got to be realistic. Jamison’s been playing really well and he deserved the chance,” said Murray.
“Personally you want to play every game you have a chance of being selected in but I’m happy with where I’m at, I’m enjoying rugby since coming back from lockdown, paying zero attention to the outside noise, which I find really helpful for me.
I don't think there was anyone this week who sulked about it, it's the nature of this competition, there are going to be changes.
“It’s just the way it is and you’ve got to be mature enough to deal with that and continue on your journey and learn off the people in the squad.
“It’s about being in a good space yourself and able to accept what’s thrown at you and continue progressing.
“I don’t think there was anyone this week who sulked about it, it’s the nature of this competition, there are going to be changes.”
Murray kicked two penalties and a late conversation during his makeshift cameo at the Aviva Stadium.
While Sexton (hamstring) and Burns (head injury assessment) could return to play against England, he is ready to step into the number 10 shirt from the start if required.
“Training week in, week out with the 10s outside you and having a bit of an understanding of what they’re wanting from you as a nine, it did make it a little bit easier just slotting one position over,” he said.
“Now I know it’s an awful lot different but I think everyone in the team – the backline especially – knows how we’re trying to play, so that’s the impressive thing about our group of players over the years.
“We have fellas who can jump in a number of positions.”