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Murdoch: Mouat would beat me

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By James Toney in Beijing
Murdoch: Mouat would beat me

DAVID Murdoch, the last British skip to contest an Olympic final, has no doubts who’d win in a showdown with Bruce Mouat.

Murdoch, from Lockerbie, took silver eight years ago in Sochi and is now head coach to Mouat’s class of 2022, that includes Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan – all also from Dumfries and Galloway.

He lost a one-sided final to Canada in Russia but beat Sweden’s Niklas Edin, Mouat’s gold medal match opponent, in the semi-finals.

“I don’t think there is much doubt if Bruce’s rink played mine from 2014, they’d win,” said Murdoch.

“The game’s changed a lot and it’s a lot more technical and these teams train so much harder than we did.

“We’ve made sure we’ve always got all the data that we have on them to know what strategy to take to play against them, Bruce is much more a student of that than I was.

“I also think the type of training we’ve done the last four years has really taken the level up and a lot of teams look at us because of that, there isn’t a fitter team around.

“Niklas is very experienced, I’ve played him loads and so has Bruce. We don’t have anything to fear and our recent record against them is really good, we beat them in the round robins here and twice at the European Championships, including the final.”

Edin is the only skip in history to win five world titles but his Olympic record is mixed, with a silver and bronze from four appearances.

However, he knows Mouat’s round robin performances – the rink lost just once and come into the final on the back of eight straight wins – mark them out as the team to beat and they’ll start with crucial final stone advantage.

“We’re focused on trying to win and not being scared of losing, so looking back four years doesn’t really do us any good,” said Edin, who lost to the USA in the gold medal match in PyeongChang. “We’re just looking at what we’re here to do right now, old games don’t mean anything – this is a brand new match and we know what it’s like to play an Olympic final, they don’t.”

There is no doubt who is boss in the Swedish rink but Murdoch likes how Mouat takes a more collaborative approach to being a skip.

And it could just be the formula that leads Great Britain to their first Olympic curling gold since Rhona Martin’s famous Stone of Destiny 20 years ago in Salt Lake City.

“I actually think the dynamic that Bruce has created in this team is the future of the sport,” added Murdoch.

“You don’t necessarily need that one big character to lead everything and take everything on. They all take on responsibilities and I think that’s why they really fight hard together.”

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