Murray comes in for Irish as Gibson-Park ruled out

CARDIFF: Veteran scrum-half Conor Murray started for Ireland in their opening Six Nations match with Wales on Saturday after first choice Jamison Gibson-Park withdrew shortly before kick-off due to a tweaked hamstring.

New Zealand-born Gibson-Park has been pivotal in Ireland’s surge to becoming the world ranked number one team breaking up Murray’s formidable partnership with fly-half Johnny Sexton.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell took the late loss in his stride — he promoted Murray’s Munster team-mate Craig Casey to the replacements bench.

“It’s good for us, you know, as a group,” he told the BBC.
“We pride ourselves on being the best squad that we possibly can be. We’re disappointed for Jamison obviously, but it’s a good opportunity for Conor and Craig.”

Murray’s fellow Test centurion Cian Healy was also a late withdrawal — the grizzled prop replaced by Dave Kilcoyne on the replacements bench.

Team (15-1)
Hugo Keenan; Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Stuart McCloskey, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (capt), Conor Murray; Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Peter O’Mahony; James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne; Finlay Bealham, Dan Sheehan, Andrew Porter
Replacements: Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Tom O’Toole, Iain Henderson, Jack Conan, Craig Casey, Ross Byrne, Bundee Aki
Coach: Andy Farrell (ENG)


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