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Connacht rugby player Niall Murray had a chat with Master of None Podcast, where he talked about his career so far, what he has learned since going and pro, and what are the biggest challenges in learning the lineout and scrum.
Moving to the senior squad
Asked about how has been signing to the Connacht senior squad from the Academy he said, “I am blessed, my path has been clear sailing, I have been lucky enough to get five caps, I couldn’t have asked for an easier start, to be honest”. He was also what was it like to have the season interrupted by COVID 19, he said, “There is nothing we can do really, it’s not in our hands anymore”. It was unfortunate because I was on a good run”. However, Murray revealed in a way it was kind of fortunate in a way. He revealed he pulled his hamstring a day before the country was put into lockdown. He said lockdown meant he was able to recover from injury.
Niall stated that he needed to gain weight as he was only 102kg. He said, he put on 10kg in the 3 months of lockdown. Asked on day to day interactions during lockdown with squad he said “I was with the Academy so we kept in touch over Zoom”. He revealed he a full week of Zoom, with Monday and Thursday with the physios and Tuesday and Friday with various coaches.
Murray was also asked about his initial thoughts on Connacht head coach Andy Friend, in which he said, “He is 100%, he is a great manager, he would tell you face to face if you aren’t playing well”. He continued, “He is very honest, he integrates players as well which wasn’t been done before so it’s great for us”. Stephen asked what kind of areas can you bring to the game and what are your biggest strengths? Murray said “The lineout to be honest, I would like to bring that to the table”. Asked on what he is looking for in the lineout, He said you do your homework, you learn the lineout of the other team”.
Murray was also asked his childhood sports. He said, I used to swim and played gaelic and soccer up till I was 16. “I only joined rugby when I was 16 or 17, I would back myself as a pretty skillful person thanks to playing gaelic and soccer”. Murray who played at minor level for Roscommon was asked jokingly who was the best county minor you or Jack Carty which Murray replied, “I am backing myself all the way here”.
When asked his sporting heroes growing up Murray said, “Obviously Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll. In terms of Connacht he said when he was coming at U17’s he would of watched Andrew Browne a lot. “I started modelling a lot of what he done on the pitch”. He continued, Andrew Browne was one the local lads I looked up to. Asked on what struggled with in terms of his skills, he said, “Probably scrummaging, my tackling was good”.
A late start to rugby career
Stephen asked how was the experience of coming in at 17 playing rugby to going on winning a Six Nations Grand Slam two or three years later? Murray said that “It was a rollercoaster”. He continued, “The whole Six Nations was a massive high, winning the Six Nations was probably the best feeling I ever had”. However, he revealed the World Cup was “a massive low” because he didn’t start one game. He said he was disappointed in himself not been able to start one of those games.
The final part of the interview focused on how Connacht are setting up for interpro games in the next couple of weeks. Murray said the competitiveness in the squad is up there with the best I’ve ever seen. “The mood in camp is great at the moment, it’s a great place to be”.
SportsNewsIreland is proud to have a player sponsorship agreement with Niall Murray for 2019/20 season.