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Watching England's deflated title celebration 'motivating factor' says Conor Murray

Irish Mirror logoIrish Mirror 12/03/2018 Michael Scully
Conor Murray holding a sign posing for the camera: Credits: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Conor Murray wants the Grand Slam icing on the cake - not the final slow puncture of celebrating a 6 Nations title alone.

Murray watched from up close last year as England celebrated their title victory in Dublin.

He could vividly sense the loss the Red Rose felt at also missing out on a Slam, courtesy of Ireland's win.

"That’s something you don’t want to do," said Murray, desperate to prevent a role reversal.

"You want it to all go well and be full of joy at the end of the game.

"What happened with England was fantastic for us - the way they celebrated, the air was a little bit out of their tyres.

"That’s not something I’m thinking about. I’m not thinking about the trophy or the presentation.

"It’s about going over to Twickenham and putting in a performance that puts you in a position to win.

"The way we reacted on Saturday when we knew we had won it (the title), it shows a lot about the group.

"Then everyone is back excited and ready to get stuck in.

"It’s a massive week - an exciting, challenging week. But a week you dream of.

You don’t want to leave any stone unturned."

Related: Who makes the Six Nations team of the week? (Readsport)

Murray confesses that avoiding England's fate is "definitely" a motivating factor.

"You want it to all go well and celebrate a victory along with that," the 28-year-old stated.

"Because the trophy is there, that performance against England away is as big, if not bigger. Genuinely, that’s the way the group feels.

"There are going to be a lot distractions - a lot of people looking for tickets and all that kind of carry on. It’s about focusing on the rugby.

"And all that hype and distraction can take care of itself. We don't need to worry about it."

Ireland believe they have a Cup final to look forward to - and Murray maintains that the preparations won't alter.

a group of people standing in a room: Credits: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

He said: “We'll prepare as we always do.

"I think you’ve just got to ask lads, it’s in their heads - everyone knows what’s at the end of this week. It is a final.

“It might just add to the buzz, the excitement around the place, the nervous energy.

"We're in a match week now. We're very used to this.

“It's just about dealing with the type of week this is.

"People have been talking about the Grand Slam since before the first game. All my friends and anyone I've spoken to has spoken about setting it up for Paddy's Day.

"There's enough intelligence in the room to know that we needed to look after those first four games week on week.

"It's a hugely driven, determined group that we're in and to win something like this was always in our minds."

When Ireland last won the Grand Slam in 2009, Murray was playing for the under-20s.

He recalls returning after playing Wales to watch the seniors make history.

"You look back to all the big Ireland victories when you were younger, looking on the telly or in the stands, and it just drives your desire to want to be there," Murray explained.

"And that's probably what feeds a lot of us from when we were younger, seeing it and wanting to achieve it - and putting the work in for it - seeing those great days.

"And then when you get in and you chat to the lads, like Rob (Kearney) and Rory (Best) and a few of the lads who have gone from Ireland now.

"Chatting to them about it, they're special days and you create a bond for life with the people you do it with.

"So yeah, it was massive. Massively inspirational".

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