Six Nations: Scotland need Italian spirit to beat England - Murray

By Jamie LyallBBC Scotland
Euan Murray says senior players in the Scotland squad must take responsibility
Euan Murray says senior players in the Scotland squad must take responsibility

Euan Murray says Scotland must adopt Italy's never-say-die approach if they are to end a 32-year wait for Twickenham glory against England.

The prop was struck by the Azzurri resolve as they came from behind to win at Murrayfield at the death.

"The Italians played with a lot of spirit and they just didn't give up," he told BBC Scotland.

"We need to take that attitude on board at Twickenham - we never give up, keep going, keep attacking the English."

Despite leading into the final seconds on Saturday, Scotland endured a disastrous three-minute collapse, with unforced errors and indiscipline culminating in a penalty try for the visitors, who snatched the game 22-19.

At 34, with 65 caps to his name - a figure likely to be substantially greater were it not for a spree of injuries and a faith that precludes him from playing matches on Sundays - amassed over 10 years, Murray is among the elder statesmen in Vern Cotter's relatively green Six Nations squad.

He had been replaced, along with captain Greig Laidlaw, as Scotland disintegrated under pressure.

"My role as one of the senior players is to have a leadership role in the squad," said the tight-head, who was retained with 10 of his colleagues for specialist training sessions within the national set-up.

"We have a specific group that looks at things on and off the field and I take leadership in the scrums.

"I think the older players - we've been through a lot, we need to bring that experience to the party. There are other guys that have had a rest this week; we've had training sessions the last couple of days, things have gone well so we're looking at bringing intensity into training next week."

Murray packs down at tighthead during Scotland's November triumph over Argentina
Murray says Scotland have had big victories in the recent past and can do it again

After three losses from three in the tournament, the players face a trip south this weekend tasked with lifting the Calcutta Cup in England for the first time since 1983.

However, the concession of 13 penalties, taking Scotland's tally for the Championship to 38, proved a constant saboteur of the hosts' momentum against Italy.

"The players have to take it upon themselves to make sure we're squeaky clean," said Murray, who toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009.

"That's got to be individual responsibility and guys within the squad policing it. It's important we're squeaky clean in training, because if you practice bad habits, you're going to take it into the game.

"If we see anything, some of us will speak up. The coaches enforce that as well.

"We don't want to be in that situation again. We want to be playing fair and square but playing hard.

"We've got to do the basics well - do the scrum and line-out well, make sure we eradicate areas that were exposed as weaknesses, for instance, the driving maul, and have an attitude of determination."

Murray stressed that victories over the likes of South Africa in recent seasons prove that a win at Twickenham is not beyond the Scots.

"With Scotland over the years, we've had some really good victories," he added. "We've had some really poor defeats.

"There are some memorable times - beating the world champions a few years ago here at Murrayfield.

"We've got some real talent in the squad and we just need to administer the killer punch and get used to doing that."

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