Six Nations: Conor Murray targets improvement as current champions Wales head to Dublin this weekend

Six Nations: Conor Murray targets improvement as current champions Wales head to Dublin this weekend

CONOR MURRAY knows Ireland will have to boost their performance levels when they face Wales at the Aviva this Saturday (2.15pm). 

Ireland were far from their fluid best last time out against Scotland, and came in from stinging criticism from former captain Brian O’Driscoll amongst others.

Garry Ringrose will miss this weekend’s game after suffering a suspected broken finger in that match.

He was replaced at half-time by Leinster team-mate Robbie Henshaw and isn’t expected back until the clash against Italy March 7.

Conor Murray of Ireland  during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The Irish Rugby Football Union also confirmed that Dave Kilcoyne and Caelan Doris will be assessed as part of concussion protocols.

Murray, who started against the Scots before being replaced by John Cooney, knows Ireland will need to be decisive in all facets of the game when the Welsh come to town. “We're definitely aware that we need to be better,” he said.

“They're the grand slam champions and they're going to be full of confidence. They're a game in and they probably had a little bit of rustiness like ourselves.

"They're going to come to Dublin, not with no fear, but with a belief they can come here and perform and win.”

Grit and determination

Ireland had to mount a backs-to-the-wall for large parts of a nervy second half against Gregor Townsend’s side but Murray is encouraged by the defensive resolve his side displayed when the game was in the balance.

"We showed a lot of grit, a lot of determination, especially towards the end, that defence on our line for a couple of minutes,” he said.

"It was a day like that with the breakdown being so hotly contested that we made it difficult for them and they made it difficult for us.  First test match out, I thought we did a lot of good things. I thought Scotland played really, really well.

"But that in turn made it quite difficult for us and it was a bit of an arm-wrestle at times.

He added: “There's plenty to be positive about but plenty of things we can look forward to getting right this weekend. The win was the most important thing."