Conor Murray’s new contract with the IRFU brings him up to 2022, and he has revealed he had no hesitations in signing it.
“It was very quick, a very easy decision,” explained the scrum-half. “From a Munster [perspective], I grew up here in the academy, it’s the place I want to win, I want to win something. I’ve been saying it for years, every time this crops up, it’s ‘Oh, we’re building something, we’re getting there’ and then we change coach or something happens or we don’t quite perform at the semi-final stage. This year, more than ever – and it might sound like I’ve said it before – I’m really excited about Munster. Really, really excited.
“Joey [Carbery] has settled in really well. Joey has a couple of Man of the Matches. Tadhg [Beirne] does too against Exeter. He’s been class, he’s been really, really impressive. Mike Haley, he’s bubbling. He’s turned in a few good performances. I’ve given Zeebs (Simon Zebo) plenty of stick that he’s better than him. I think the additions we’ve made and Johann having a good run at pre-season and implementing his gameplan.”
Through Zebo, Murray has seen what it’s like in the Racing set-up, having visited his former teammate.
“It’s really cool. I was over there, he took me into Racing’s training ground on the Sunday after they played Lyon. It’s a really cool setup, eye-opening to a certain extent. I knew what it was like there, you know what places are like anyway. Zeebs was open about it – he’d always wanted to do it.
“I’d mentioned it before. It would be cool to have a change of scenery but I find it too good to leave here now – what you could potentially be involved in. I’ll have just turned 33 by the end of it, the new contract. That’s a long way away, thankfully.”
The Munster and Ireland star knows that plying his trade abroad would impact his chances for the national team, and this was all the more reason to stay put.
“Ireland, if I left or went to play somewhere else, you know you’re going to miss out on big days. It’s just the playing group we have now and the coaching that we have. The buzz around the national team is unbelievable. When international season comes around, that will be disappointing, not playing in November. That will be hard to deal with. I will enjoy it because I’m getting fit and I have a chance to get back again.”
“You just see the buzz, particularly around Dublin where we play, it’s unbelievable. That kind of stuff was easy. Straight away, I’d love to stay.”
However, the 29-year-old made it clear that there is no express rule that players must be signed with one of the four provinces in order to be selected for the national side.
“There’s no rule, as far as I know, there is no rule in the contract that says if you leave, you can’t be selected. It was never said to me. That would be your own choice, your own risk at the end of the day.
“Zeebs knew that going away; before he left, he knew it would be a risk. He’s playing really well over there but you wouldn’t know if he’ll be involved in an Irish jersey in the future. He could be, he’s not written off from what I gather.
“I know when Johnny [Sexton] was there, he was selected. He was sore and he had to go away during the Six Nations and play for Racing. It was a tough task to play international rugby for two weeks and then go away and play Top 14 which is a slog as well.
“We’re very well looked after here in terms of game management. It’s a small country, we’re quite tight-knitted. Access to the national medical team, physios, everyone talks, it’s a really good system we have.”
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