Six Nations 2020: Cooney rivalry adds motivation - Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray

Conor Murray and John Cooney are vying for the starting spot in Saturday's game against Wales
Conor Murray and John Cooney are vying for the starting spot in Saturday's game against Wales
Six Nations: Ireland v Wales
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 8 February Kick-off: 1415 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Five, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru and BBC Radio Ulster

Ireland's Conor Murray says competition from John Cooney for the scrum-half spot is a positive for the team ahead of Saturday's game against Wales.

Murray started in the lacklustre weekend win over Scotland before being replaced by Cooney in the second half.

"John came on, added to the game and he's having an unbelievable season," said Murray on Monday.

"It adds a little bit more motivation - you want to put on a performance with people writing you off."

Murray and Cooney were side-by-side at a press conference on Monday and they will find out who starts in Dublin when the team is named on Tuesday.

"It's an ultra-competitive environment - maybe there's been times when it hasn't been like that in the Irish squad. You would much rather have it that way," added the Munster man.

Pitch perfect

"All credit to John - he's been playing really well all season and he put in a lovely kick in behind their defence on Saturday to put us up the pitch towards the end of the game.

"Especially in a tight game like that it was pretty much what we needed."

For Ulster's Cooney, the challenger to long-time number nine incumbent Murray, it's a case to looking to the positives as he pushes for start.

"I'm in a much better position than I was last year - I probably got into the squad last year because of a couple of injuries," he said.

"For me it's just trying to perform and ease into the team whenever I could. I was happy with the 20 minutes I got on Saturday."