Munster rugby could be set for a timely boost this weekend with the news that scrum-half Conor Murray could be set to make his return to action against Connacht in their Pro12 derby on Saturday.
Murray has been sidelined since March following a shoulder injury suffered during Ireland’s Six Nations clash with Wales in Cardiff. In the time since, the 28-year-old has been selected for a second British and Irish Lions tour, watched his side bow out of the Champions Cup to Saracens and also seen his teammates secure a home Pro12 semi-final spot.
Now, according to The42.ie, Munster’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has revealed that the pivotal No. 9 could be in line to return to action as soon as this weekend. Despite Lions boss Warren Gatland making it clear that Murray must prove his fitness ahead of the tour of New Zealand, Erasmus is in no mood to rush him back into action, however.
“I think maybe Conor is conscious of that, but he hasn’t been saying anything along those lines. I think it would be normal if he felt that way, it only comes around every four years but also you can’t be stupid.
“After this Lions series his rugby career is not over; he’s got another few years to go. So obviously that plays a role, but that won’t rush him back. If we didn’t rush him back for the Champions Cup semi-final in Ireland why would we now rush him back all of a sudden? I’m sure there will be other Lions players who will still get injured before the tour.
“He is definitely progressing, he is definitely getting better. I hope he gets a game in. There is definitely two games to go, hopefully in one of those two. He’ll again be touch and go for this week.
“Every week he contributes more in training sessions and he is doing more and more and more. And he has been ticking all the boxes — much slower than we hoped to– but he is ticking the boxes. Hopefully this week he gets to the end of the week and we can actually select him. So there is a chance, there is a chance.”
Munster, Ireland and Lions fans will be encouraged by the news of Murray’s nearing return as his longer than expected recovery had led to fears he could miss the prestigious summer tour and the crucial Pro12 play-offs.
All eyes now turn to Thomond Park this weekend to see if Murray is listed among the match day 23.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena