Scotland stars need chance to regain club form - Murray

Kenny Murray isn't concerned by the form of Scotland players who are adjusting after the World Cup. Picture: SNS Group
Kenny Murray isn't concerned by the form of Scotland players who are adjusting after the World Cup. Picture: SNS Group
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Glasgow assistant coach Kenny Murray insists he is not concerned by the form of some star players as the club enter a pivotal phase of the season.

The Warriors followed up their disappointing home loss to Northampton in the European Champions Cup opener with a shaky 13-6 win over Guinness Pro12 basement dwellers Treviso at Scotstoun last Friday.

There is a transition period when guys go back from international to the club game. The expectations on these guys are really high

Kenny Murray

Full-back Stuart Hogg improved after a disappointing display against the Saints but international team-mate Finn Russell had another off-colour evening and was substituted after 55 minutes.

Murray said: “I thought Stuart played really well at the weekend. In bad weather conditions like that some of his coverage in the back field was top drawer. Finn had a mixed game. By his own standards he could have played better in attack and defence.

“There is a transition period when guys go back from international to the club game. The expectations on these guys are really high, especially the guys mentioned – Finn and Stuart. The expectation on them by us as coaches, the media and the fans is high.

“They need to meet those expectations and there are parts of our game that could have been better over the past couple of weeks.

“Stuart has looked at a few areas of his game against Northampton and Finn from the weekend needs to improve certain aspects and look at his game. But it is not for a lack of effort that is for sure.”

Glasgow host old rivals Leinster at Scotstoun this Saturday afternoon in a crunch Guinness Pro12 match before two back-to-back doubles against Scarlets in Europe then Edinburgh in the 1872 Cup takes us into 2016.

Murray, the former Ayr head coach who was brought into the Warriors backroom staff by Gregor Townsend two years ago, said work will be done to ensure the club’s top internationalists can get back to their best following the World Cup.

“It is a process of going through the game with them, identifying what they have done well, which is a bit part of our culture,” explained Murray. “We will also look at how they can improve. Every player sets goals to work on then reviews their game and key points with the coaches.”

Murray believes the Pro12 champions are well equipped to deal with a hectic period into the new year and said: “When the guys came back from the world cup we knew we had 16 games on the trot. You look at the table and there is not a top four running away with it. It will be a real fight to get into the top four.”

Glasgow lost 23-18 at Leinster at the end of October and now have a swift opportunity to avenge that against a team they have enjoyed some stirring duels with in recent seasons.

Murray added: “They are a bit like us in that they will want to move the ball and have a lot of talented individuals. This week we need to be at our best in defence. With Nigel [Owens] refereeing it will be an open game so that suits us as well.

“It is a big game because if we beat Leinster we go ahead of them in the league and we want a platform going into Europe. Leinster may have lost some games but they have played some really good rugby. They will come here confident and will have seen things in our game at the weekend they think they can take advantage of.”

Leinster will be without scrum-half Luke McGrath and centre Noel Reid, and have doubts over flanker Sean O’Brien, but Lions stand-off Jonny Sexton, who took a bang to his back in Friday’s 8-3 win over Ulster, and hooker Richardt Strauss, are available for selection this weekend with full-back Rob Kearney expected to recover from a minor hamstring problem and be fit to play.