Conor Murray's threat around the ruck is not what it once was and Ireland could do with the Munster scrum-half rediscovering that magic, according to Eddie O’Sullivan.

The Ireland number 9, who will win his 80th cap on Saturday when Ireland host Wales, last scored an international try 12 months ago, against Italy in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.

That score, which secured a bonus-point win, was a close-range effort after a lineout maul.

But, Murray, who has held off the pressure of Ulster scrum-half John Cooney for a starting place, has not got over the line in nine games since.

Against Scotland the 30-year-old Munster player made 78 passes and four runs. In four World Cup games, he made 11 runs with no clean breaks.

It contrasts starkly with his form around the 2017 Lions tour when he always provided a threat at the ruck.

"The thing that I would say more than anything that Conor Murray has taken out of his game is his ability to make breaks," former Ireland head coach O’Sullivan told the RTÉ Rugby podcast.

"If you go back two years and more Conor Murray was a nightmare to defend around the rucks because he is a huge man, he’s 6’ 2".

"He’s a really good, quick couple of first steps, and he sells a beautiful dummy. Remember the try in Chicago [v New Zealand in 2016], straight under the sticks.

"And that has absolutely evaporated out of his game in the last year and a bit.

"[The neck injury in 2018] could be a factor but it’s like someone’s told him not to do it anymore.

"If he’s prepared to have a crack, pin his ears back, it might just ignite something in him that has kind of dissipated.

"He’s not a danger around the ruck any more and I’d love to see that coming back."

Meanwhile, assistant coach Richie Murphy has confirmed that prop Dave Kilcoyne has passed all the Head Injury Assessment protocols after suffering a blow to the head last weekend and is fit to take his place in the bench.

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