WARREN GATLAND HAS revealed that Conor Murray suffered a setback with his recovery from injury and cast doubts over the Munster man’s involvement in the Lions tour this summer.
Gatland has concerns about whether Murray will be fit to play for his province before the end of the season and says he would be reluctant to bring the scrum-half to New Zealand if he does not do so before the Lions depart at the end of May.
Murray suffered what Ireland and Munster have described as a “stinger” injury to his shoulder in the Six Nations defeat to Wales almost six weeks ago.
However, speaking at the Lions squad announcement earlier today, Gatland stated that Murray is suffering with a neck injury and has visited a neurologist as part of his treatment for the nerve damage.
The clarity of Gatland’s injury update put Ireland and Munster’s own updates to shame and essentially served to rule Murray out of the Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens in Dublin on Saturday.
While Munster boss Rassie Erasmus said on Monday that he thinks Murray will be fit for the Lions tour and hopefully before that for Munster, Gatland is worried.
Yeah, it is a concern,” said Gatland. “He’s got a nerve issue, I spoke to the doctor yesterday. He was hoping to be fit this week, he had a setback a couple of weeks ago.
“He’s going to need to play before he gets on the plane. That’s going to be important for us. I would be reluctant to take someone to New Zealand with a neck injury who hasn’t played particularly. His last game was against Wales, on 10 March.
“He’s incredibly fit as a player. It’s causing him a bit of discomfort and a bit of weakness in his arm, and hopefully he’s going to be right in a couple of weeks, and the neurologist is confident he’s going to be okay.
“He’s had some disc problems in the past but that’s not what’s causing the issue. It’s some nerve problem that he’s got at the moment.
“Look, it’s a concern, because he is a quality player. I think he’s disappointed himself. He was hoping to be right this week for Munster. So hopefully he’s going to be right in a couple of weeks and get one or two games under his belt.”
After presumably missing Munster’s clash with Saracens, Murray will hope to return for the Pro12 clash with Treviso on 29 April or the home tie against Connacht on 6 May in Thomond Park.
The weekend after that will either be the Champions Cup final or a weekend off for Munster, with a Pro12 semi-final to come on the weekend of 19/20/21 May and then a possible Pro12 final on 27 May.
With the Lions flying out to New Zealand just days after that, Murray will certainly be feeling some pressure to get back on the pitch and prove to Gatland that he is fit and ready to tour.
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