Conor Murray Responds To Gatland Saying Wales Will Target Him & Sexton
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We’re used to it.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland earlier this week said his side must target Ireland’s world class halfback pairing of Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray on Saturday if they’re to have any chance of winning.
Gatland coached both men on last summer’s Lions tour of New Zealand and says Wales must “attack them. The head coach said Wales’ defensive line-speed needs to be good, and they must put Murray’s kicking game under pressure.
“We’ve got to attack them,” said Gatland
“We have had some pretty good success not allowing Johnny too much time and space on the ball. Our line-speed defensively has got to be good.
“We have got to put Conor and his kicking game under pressure. We have to be prepared to be pretty physical against them
“We have got to be physical against them up-front and stop the running power of someone like CJ Stander, and stop allowing Murray and Sexton to dominate the game. If we can do that, we have got a chance.
“They are comfortable playing through lots of phases, they’ve got an excellent kicking game, their nine and 10 combination is probably one of the best in world rugby. We’ve got a job to do to try and shut them down.”
Conor Murray was asked about Gatland’s comments today, and the scrumhalf says it’s nothing new. He says it’s part and parcel of international rugby. And that both him and Sexton are well used to it at this stage.
“They might try and get at you a different way than they’ve tried before. But it’s part and parcel of international rugby.” Murray said
“I think if you try and get at a 9 and 10, the decision makers in a team, it can upset the flow.
“Me and Johnny are used to that type of treatment.
“There’s probably a few things being said in the media that are probably trying to get into people’s heads”
“That’s a challenge again, how you deal with that. And I think we’re ready for it.
“We know and accept what’s coming their way.”
Conor Murray and Joe Schmidt respond to Warren Gatland's promise to go after Ireland half-backs. pic.twitter.com/hqKwj3PCy3
— Sinéad Kissane (@sineadkissane) February 22, 2018
Joe Schmidt was also asked about it. And his answer echoed Murray’s feeling’s on it.
“It’s up to their teammates to best look after them. And it’s up to them to be up to the challenge.” Schmidt said
“It’s hard to protect those two. They’re so willing to throw their bodies into the fray, that they don’t need protecting.”
Roll on Saturday. It promises to be an absolute cracker.