Murray excited, but also wary of Bokke

Henry

World Rugby’s heavyweights meet in Saint-Denis on Saturday when the Springboks play against Ireland in a Group B match at the Stade de France.

Both teams are still unbeaten in the tournament and according to Conor Murray, the Irish have been persuaded to succeed.

“It is incredibly exciting to play against the World Champion team in Paris. One of our players said after our game against Tonga that you also have to take in the atmosphere of the tournament. If you can’t enjoy it, then why are you here?” said the veteran scrumhalf.

Ireland has already dealt with Romania (82 – 8) and Tonga (59 – 16), while South Africa has finished with Scotland (18 – 3) and Romania (76 – 0).

“We are currently playing good rugby, but there are things we need to work on. The biggest tests of the tournament still await us, but we are ready for action. When you play against South Africa, you must not back down: It is not every day that you play against the defending champion in a World Cup tournament.”

Murray knows what Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus are capable of. After all, he played 177 games for Munster and he was part of the set-up when the South Africans took the club’s coaching reins.

“There is a touch of familiarity because I have been coached by them, but they can always pull a rabbit out of the hat. We will have to be ready for anything; the Springboks are actually a very difficult team to play against.”

One of the nice chapters leading up to the match story is the possible inclusion of Jean Kleyn in the Springboks’ team.

In addition to his club duties with Munster, the 30-year-old lock also played a few tests for Ireland before Erasmus lured him back to his native country.

According to Murray, there are no ill feelings towards his former Ireland team-mate. After all, players must grab their opportunities with both hands.

“However, if I play against him, I will try to stay out of his way. He is a very good physical player and I would much rather talk to him after the game.”

The match starts at 21:00 on Saturday and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.