Six Nations 2015: Conor Murray not feeling pressure

Munster scrum-half fit and ready to take on the Azzurri as Joe Schmidt's men begin their title defence in Rome

Conor Murray insists there is no added pressure on him despite Johnny Sexton’s absence from Ireland’s attack as the Six Nations gets under way.

The 25-year-old Munster scrum-half has recovered from a month out with a neck problem and will play a pivotal role in Ireland’s Six Nations title defence when they travel to Rome to take on Italy.

If I play well, then hopefully all that stuff you talk about, pressure and responsibility, kind of looks after itself.

Conor Murray

With Joe Schmidt’s only options at outside-half lacking international experience, it could fall on the British Lion to spearhead the attack, much in the way it does for his province.

After rising to third in the World Rugby ranking in November following wins over Australia and South Africa, Ireland go into the tournament as favourites, but the Limerickman is only focused on playing well for his country and letting everything else take care of itself.

“There’s no more pressure than usual,” Murray said.

“Other people might say there is, but I don’t see that.

“It’s came up with Munster before as well, that there might be a bit more pressure on me, but I just try to play my own game and play well.

“If I play well, then hopefully all that stuff you talk about, pressure and responsibility, kind of looks after itself.”

Murray also believes he is comfortable playing with whoever is chosen to deputise for Sexton, who still has another week to go before he is allowed to return to action after 12 weeks on the sidelines.

Munster team-mate Ian Keatley or Leinster’s Ian Madigan are vying to step up for a rare start in international rugby with Ulster’s Paddy Jackson also ruled out.

“The two Ians that might be going for the 10 spot this weekend, they’ve been in and out of the team in training.

“They’ve been getting their reps in and doing really well and I’ve no issue with whoever gets picked.

“We all have our roles within the team, we all understand how Joe wants us to play the game and I don’t think it’s going to affect any of us, even the lads coming in.

“I don’t think anyone has to change the way they play or change the type of player they are.

“They can still express themselves, it’s just we need to have a good understanding of the game plan and how we want to approach this Italy game.”

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