Conor Murray is looking forward to getting Munster’s European exit out of his system when he returns to the side for this Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 quarter-final against Edinburgh at Thomond Park.
Rested for last Saturday’s final league game, a 24-24 draw with Ulster, Murray is raring to go for the start of the PRO14 play-offs and eager to finally have the opportunity to get over the Champions Cup semi-final exit to Racing 92 in Bordeaux 11 days ago.
The 27-22 scoreline at Stade Chaban-Delmas disguises a terrible start by Munster which saw a rampant Racing side run in three tries inside the first quarter of the game and effectively book their ticket to ilbao for next week’s final against Leinster before half-time.
The Ireland scrum-half is relishing a return to knockout rugby and a chance to put things right against Edinburgh.
“That will be good for us as a squad,” Murray told In Touchmagazine.
“We’ve addressed the Racing game and reviewed it and looked at it. You don’t really get it out of your system until you play another game. Hopefully I’ll be back in for Edinburgh and once you’re back into it you just focus on the next game, focus on the next task.”
Murray added that the European semi-final defeat will be a motivating factor this weekend.
“I think it’s very simple how we lost the (Racing) game; we started poorly and gave ourselves too much to do and that’s pretty much it in black and white.
“It was very disappointing but we can be proud of our effort. We stuck in there until the end and never gave up, but we lost it really in the first 20.
“We can’t do that in a semi-final when the stakes are high and the margins are so fine. Another semi-final we’ll learn from but it was majorly disappointing.
“Within the group it’s something we can use to motivate ourselves, the fact that we’ve reached the semi-finals four out of the last six years. The semi-finals are a nut we have yet to crack but to get to that stage takes a huge amount of work. It’s made us a strong squad, a strong unit.”
Beat Edinburgh and there is a PRO14 semi-final at Leinster on May 19 with the final a week later at Aviva Stadium. With Ireland then heading to Australia and a three-Test series in June, there is plenty of life left in the season for Murray.
“It’s been a great journey with Munster and Ireland from the beginning of the season and there are going to be more big days out so plenty to look forward to and plenty to be thankful for.
“It’s been a bit of a hectic schedule but we’re really well looked after in Ireland with rest and minutes played. I feel pretty fresh and I haven’t toured Australia with Ireland before so it’s something that I want to do and I’m sure a lot of the lads are the same. I think it’s going to be a really challenging tour going away from home, away from your comforts, and performing. It’s a class country to go and play rugby so another trip and another challenge to look forward to.”