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Conor Murray at outhalf 'a ris...
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Conor Murray at outhalf 'a risk' according to Quinlan as Ireland face selection headache

Neil Treacy
Neil Treacy

12:43 16 Nov 2020

Conor Murray found himself in relatively unfamiliar territory on Friday night against Wales, when he was sprung from the bench to cover outhalf following injuries to Johnny Sexton and Billy Burns.

The Munster scrumhalf comfortably steered the ship home, kicking a pair of penalties and a conversion in the 32-9 win, leading to head coach Andy Farrell suggesting he's a live-option to wear the number 10 jersey against England this Saturday at Twickenham.

Johnny Sexton has been ruled out of this weekend's game, while Billy Burns is doubtful for the game, as he follows the return to play protocols for a head injury.

Speaking on OTB AM this morning to Nathan and Ger, former Irish international Alan Quinlan says Murray has all the tools to run a game in the number 10 shirt but is unsure if Twickenham is the right place to try it out.

"He's a very good footballer, and he's capable of playing there. You're really rolling the dice there. He's very, very talented, I remember when I was finishing up and you'd play touch rugby before training and he's a phenomenal open-field runner and he has a great footballing ability. Can he play out half? Of course he can, but I think it's a risk and he's not used to playing there at a high level.

"If you're playing a Tier 2 nation, for sure (try Murray at 10), or if you're going to World Cup and he's your third choice flyhalf, you'd back him to do a job if the other two get injured," he said.

Quinlan noted the knock-on effect of selecting Murray at outhalf, adding the message it would send out to Johnny Sexton's fellow outhalf contenders.

They would be very frustrated, but there is a gap to Sexton and the rest, and that's a reality. Hopefully Carbery will get back soon, he's closer to Sexton that the others, but it's a confidence thing if one of those guys don't get picked.

"You could argue that this is the Autumn Nations Cup, and maybe it''s an opportunity to do it. If Andy Farrell announced it in the team, I wouldn't be angry or frustrated, I'd say fair enough, it's worth a crack if they believe it's the right thing. But it doesn't do anything for the gap to Sexton and the rest; it makes it bigger if anything," he added.

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Alan Quinlan Autumn Nations Cup Conor Murray Johnny Sexton Twickenham

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