British and Irish Lions captain Conor Murray said on Tuesday that playing with key members of the Springboks coaching staff in Munster gave him a glimpse of how the world champions could play in the upcoming series of tests in South Africa.
The scrum-half was influenced by South African rugby director Rassie Erasmus, coach Jacques Nienaber and coaching consultant Felix Jones when all three were at club Murray’s Munster.
“What they’ve done over the past two years, obviously winning the World Cup, has been really impressive,” Murray said at an online press conference in Johannesburg.
“Looking at them at the World Cup and after playing Munster under them, there were similar ideas in what they were doing and what they were showing.
“There will be areas where you get a little insight into, but everyone is doing analysis on each other, everyone knows each other as well as they can.
“If anything comes to my mind about a certain way Jacques wanted us to play Munster and see him on the South African side, that might be a little glimpse.
“At the same time, you have to be prepared for surprises. You have to be quite adaptable. It’s kind of an idea to have worked under them, but at the same time it could be completely different.”
It was Murray’s first press conference after what he described as “a few crazy days” since he was named captain in Edinburgh on Saturday after Alun Wyn Jones was injured in the Lions’ victory over the Japan.
– ‘Be yourself’ –
He said he was able to spend “a few minutes” with Wyn Jones before the team left on Sunday. “He said, ‘Be yourself.’ He said he was on the phone if anything happened.”
Murray said the lack of spectators in Covid-affected South Africa “makes you think how good it would be if the fans were here, but there (are) much more important things outside of this tour. and you have to respect that.
“We’re very aware of what’s going on outside with the lockdown and the protocols. We’re here to try and make people smile here and at home.”
Although the players were confined to their hotel, only able to make it to a training ground, they felt welcome.
“The people at the traffic lights are waving and smiling at us. There’s a good buzz around us being here.
“Most players, if not all, are used to playing without fans, we’re used to what it is.
“It would be great, but that doesn’t take away from the peculiarity of Lions, how challenging it is in the backyard of world champions. There is a lot of motivation for us,” he said. he declares.
Murray said he doesn’t believe the captain’s job will put extra pressure on him.
“The reason (coach) Warren (Gatland) chose me is based on what he saw, so it’s really important that I stay on my own and keep doing what I do. did. I don’t want to try to be someone different. “
The Lions play their first game against their namesakes, the Johannesburg-based Lions, on Saturday.
© 2021 AFP