Yes, you read that right, and above is the photographic proof from the moment scrum-half Conor Murray takes a lineout for Ireland. This was snapped during Ireland’s 56-19 victory over Italy in Round Two of this year’s Six Nations.
The move cam in the first half of the contest at the Aviva Stadium, down in the left corner of Italy’s half. Murray popped the ball off the top but no clear cut scoring opportunity was carved out directly from the move – this in a game where Ireland scored eight tries against the Azzurri.
However, the fact Murray went up at all is impressive. And ballsy.
The Munster nine has previous when it comes to lineout jumping, though. Earlier in the season, during the inter-provincial match against rivals Leinster in the Guinness Pro14, Murray was twice thrown up in the touchline set-piece. Not only did the back catch the unsuspecting Leinstermen unawares, but the moves also led to tries for Munster.
Murray is not your stereotypical front receiver in a lineout. Nor would he be the ideal player to have at the heart of any driving maul. That being said, fair play to the scrum-half for putting his hand up for the trick play in a Test match environment, and at home no less.
Despite being taken off after 50 minutes against Italy, Murray – who scored Ireland’s second try of eight on the afternoon – put in an all-round, impressive display at the Aviva. He was awarded the Man of the Match award after the final whistle.
Ireland are no strangers to unexpected lineout moves, or to taking risks with them. You may remember way back in 2015, Ireland tried (and failed) to utilise a 13-man lineout against Wales in the Six Nations. That day in Cardiff, Wales triumphed 23-16.