Conor Murray was in the form of his life. He was key to Ireland’s historic victory over the All-Blacks in November. Was highly impressive in the victories over South Africa and Australia in 2016. He was one of Munster’s stars as they ploughed through the group stages of the Champions Cup and opening rounds of the Pro 12.
Then in the penultimate game of the Six Nations Murray picked up shoulder and neck nerve damage. At first the timescale for the injury seemed short but as the weeks progressed Murray was starting to look like a doubt for the Lions tour beginning on June 3rd.
Earlier this week Rassie Erasmus teased the possibility that Murray could feature this weekend against Connacht. Then, speaking to RTE at an event in Dublin on Thursday afternoon, Murray gave a positive update on his return from injury.
“It’s been a frustrating four or five weeks, I’m doing a lot more contact, hopefully I’ll be playing soon, so there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
“It’s an unknown timeline with an injury like this.
“It could have been two, three weeks… it’s been six weeks with a little setback in the middle, where I trained a little too hard in the gym and aggravated it a little bit.
Murray continued when asked about the upcoming Connacht game,
“We trained Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and I trained fully with the squad and took a lot of contact and suffered no ill-effects.
“If I continue to improve and there’s no soreness I hope to be involved, please God, if I’m picked.”
Then came the words the Munster faithful have been waiting to hear for the past 9 weeks,
“I feel fit and ready to go.”
Murray will be keen to get back on the pitch and leave his injury troubles behind. He will also be hoping to impress Warren Gatland who has warned Murray that he must prove his fitness before travelling with the Lions. Murray is in pole position for the scrum half jersey for the tour but knows he has work to do.
“Even had he [Gatland] not said that, I would have been pushing to play because I need to be match fit and sharp before getting on a plane for a gruelling tour in New Zealand.”
Hopefully Murray will get game time on Saturday as Munster look forward to a Pro 12 semi final clash in Thomond Park