Six Nations 2017: Ireland's Stander plays down Scotland vow to target Murray

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CJ Stander says Conor Murray won't need special protection against Scotland
Six Nations 2017
Dates: 4 Feb-18 March Coverage: BBC TV, Radio and online

Ireland flanker CJ Stander says scrum-half Conor Murray will not need special protection in Saturday's Six Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield.

Murray accused Glasgow of targeting him in Munster's recent European game and Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw has promised more of the same on Saturday.

But Stander, 26, believes an effective Irish display will negate the issue.

"We know what we have to do. Make the ball available for him. He's a big man. Conor can look after himself," he said.

Asked whether Ireland will plan extra protection for his Munster colleague, Stander replied: "No. No. He is a player that looks after himself. We just need to get the ball back from the ruck and make it easier for him to get the ball and let him play his game.

Conor Murray makes a clearance from a back of a ruck in Munster's recent European game against Glasgow
Conor Murray felt that he was put of risk of injury by Glasgow's tactics in Munster's recent European game

Murray claimed Glasgow put him at risk of injury

Scrum-half Murray, 27, claimed the Scottish club had put him at risk of injury in the European Champions Cup game at Scotstoun on 14 January.

Murray took a blow to the head during the contest and Munster were later cleared of any wrongdoing by Champions Cup organisers after the scrum-half had initially returned to the field following the incident before undergoing a head injury assessment.

In response, the Warriors' coaching staff and players were adamant that their tactics, while robust, were firmly within the laws of the game.

Scotland scrum-half Laidlaw stuck firmly to this line at a news conference on Tuesday.

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.

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Six Nations: Ireland's CJ Stander ready for 'physical battle' against Scotland

"In that game, Glasgow got 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.

"We need to do that to every Irish player but we can expect the same back, I'm sure."

For his part, Stander believes the Munster pack "let down" Murray at Scotstoun but he appears confident that there will not be a repetition at Murrayfield.

"We didn't look after him as much as we could [at Scotstoun]. This weekend, we all have to concentrate on our job. We know what we have to do."

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