Rugby Murray: Thoughts already turning to Japan

Rugby This is another magnificent item.

Conor Murray admits that Ireland players can’t but think of the World Cup in Japan despite having three warm-up games to come.

A 40-man panel are at a warm-weather training camp in the south of Portugal ahead of Saturday week’s clash with England at Twickenham.

Murray didn’t feature in the match-day panel for last Saturday’s 29-10 win over Italy, a game that came at the cost of a four-week minimum injury lay-off for back-up out-half Joey Carbery.

“We’ve got games coming up; I haven’t played yet so you’re just looking at that first game, hopefully getting that under the belt and start to build from there,” the 30-year-old Munster scrum-half told Irish Rugby TV.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say people are thinking of Japan and how exciting it could be but we’ve a lot of work to go before we go.”

Joe Schmidt needs to cut nine more names for the final World Cup panel, which is expected to be announced ahead of the second game against Wales on 7 September in Dublin.

“I think I could name certainly 20, maybe a few more,” said the head coach when asked about how many of his squad were certain of

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