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Scotland Legend Says He's "Perplexed" By Notion That Conor Murray Is Being Targeted

Scotland Legend Says He's "Perplexed" By Notion That Conor Murray Is Being Targeted
By Gavan Casey
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Scotland rugby icon Scott Hastings has said he's "perplexed" by the idea that Conor Murray was 'targeted' by Glasgow during Munster's Champions Cup trip to Scotstoun last month.

The 65-cap Scotland international spoke on Second Captains ahead of Ireland's visit to Murrayfield.

During the podcast, presenter Eoin McDevitt put it to Hastings that Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw was extremely dismissive of Murray's claims, and announced straight-up that Scotland would be going after Murray once more from 2:30pm on Saturday.

Earlier this week, Laidlaw said:

Glasgow did everything within the rules of the game. As a nine you are always going to get teams putting pressure on you.

In that game, Glasgow got a a charge down on him but they were trying to get the ball back — they weren’t trying to deliberately injure the player.

Will we be putting pressure on him? For sure we will. He’s not going to come to Murrayfield and get an armchair ride.

Hastings was slightly less definite in his views on the numerous incidents in which it appeared Glasgow's players were making belated contact with the Munster scrum-half's standing leg following box-kicks.


The former Lion stressed that he didn't wish to dismiss Murray's situation off-hand, but remained rather bemused by the accusations.

He also suggested that the referees, particularly in line with rugby's stricter new rules, would deal with the issue were it to rear its head once more on Saturday:


I am a bit perplexed by this feeling that [Murray] has been targeted.

You're always going to get the late follow-through; it's part and parcel of the game. The officials are there to rule on that particular situation.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to dismiss what Conor Murray has been saying, but what I'd like to emphasise is that it's a hugely physical game, it's a hugely emotional game, and as long as the players realise their responsibilities, the officials will deal with it, and deal with it harshly.

But ultimately, the pressure point of international rugby, it heightens senses. It heightens the strenuous efforts of the players. And the players have got to realise that they have to stay within the laws.

As for Scotland's chances on Saturday, Hastings rejected the idea that they have been bolstered by Johnny Sexton's absence through injury. Paddy Jackson, he claims, is capable of running the show on current form.

So too are Scotland, however - at least according to their legendary centre. Intriguingly, he pointed to the Scots' backline - now featuring Super Rugby flyer Huw Jones - as a potential gamebreaker in Edinburgh:


I wouldn't consider it an upset - not on this occasion. However, if you go into the game and look at the current form, Ireland are favourites. But if Scotland can play their own game and dominate in phases of their own play, then it possible [that Scotland will win].

If Scotland can seek parity within the scrum and the forward exchanges, then I believe they have an exciting backline to exploit.

You can listen to Hastings and Second Captains' full Six Nations preview below:


A Reminder: The Referees Who'll Be Controlling Ireland's 6 Nations Games In 2017

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