Key Man

Murray remains the big worry for Munster ahead of Saracens semi-final

The scrum-half has a frustrating shoulder issue after suffering a stinger while on Ireland duty.

CONOR MURRAY REMAINS a major doubt for Munster’s Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens in Dublin on Saturday, with Rassie Erasmus admitting that it’s unclear how long the scrum-half will be out injured for.

Murray has been sidelined since injuring his shoulder during Ireland’s defeat to Wales in the Six Nations just over five weeks ago.

Conor Murray Murray has been training with Munster, but not playing. Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

He was named to start Munster’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulouse at the start of this month, but pulled out before the game and he remains the chief injury concern for the province this week.

“A stringer, a shoulder injury, he got a stinger on his shoulder,” said Munster director of rugby Erasmus after Saturday’s victory over Ulster.

“Obviously a nerve got – again, you know, the moment I start talking about medical things the medical team gets upset. He got a stinger on his shoulder and it is just taking longer to heal.

“There are so many things that still need to happen in his career. And even this year alone. Although I would really like to play him every Saturday, he is just not healing fast enough. It is as simple as that.”

Murray first damaged the shoulder while making a tackle on Wales’ George North, but Ireland opted to leave him on the pitch in the hope that the effects of the stinger would wear off.

That did not prove to be the case, however, and the scrum-half eventually made way for replacement Kieran Marmion.

“I wouldn’t be qualified to answer that,” said Erasmus when asked if Murray being left on by Ireland had made the issue worse. “Maybe if he came off earlier he would have been out for six, seven weeks.”

Murray has been taking part in Munster training in recent weeks, making the situation even more frustrating.

Conor Murray goes down injured Murray was injured in the defeat to Wales. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

However, the scrum-half still hasn’t been involved in the contact elements of Munster’s sessions.

“He never took full contact at all,” said Erasmus. “He just took part in general play – kicking and passing is part of that – and during that he always felt comfortable.

“The symptoms just have not gone away so to put a guy in crunch games, with the season ahead and the future ahead, it would just be too risky with that kind of injury to do that. He’s taken no contact, just team runs and plays.”

It seems likely that Munster will make a call on Murray’s fitness late this week, and though Erasmus said he does have some hope, his involvement against Saracens seems unlikely at this point.

“I have got hope,” said Erasmus. “Three, four weeks ago I had more hope because I just
see the progress is slower than I would have thought it would have been.

“I would be lying if I was sitting here and saying I had got more hope. I have the same hope as last week and he didn’t play. It is what it is.”

Centre Rory Scannell is another major doubt for the Saracens clash with an ankle injury, although it appears that CJ Stander will have recovered from his own ankle issue in time to start in Munster’s back row.

Scrum-half Duncan Williams, who will start at nine if Murray is absent, is also expected to be fully fit after being pulled from the win over Ulster with a slight groin issue.

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