Murray could miss B&I Lions tour

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:33
Large conor murray ireland 2017 800

INJURY UPDATE: Ireland scumhalf Conor Murray's bid to secure his British and Irish Lions place suffered a setback Friday when he was ruled out of Munster's European Champions Cup semifinal against title-holders Saracens this weekend.

Murray was included Wednesday in a 41-man squad named by Lions coach Warren Gatland for a three-Test series away to world champions New Zealand in June and July.

But the 27-year-old has not played since suffering a nerve injury affecting his shoulder and neck area against Wales in the Six Nations on March 10.

Gatland made it clear after his squad was announced that Murray, who helped the Lions to a series win in Australia four years ago, would have to return before the end of the European season to secure his tour spot.

"It is a concern," Gatland said. "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.

"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 - the neurologist is confident he's going to be OK,"

Duncan Williams, who has spent much of his time at Munster as a back-up scrumhalf to Peter Stringer, Tomas O'Leary and now Murray, will start in Saturday's semifinal at Dublin's Lansdowne Road.

Williams, 31, has had a chequered career but former Munster and Ireland flyhalf Ronan O'Gara backed him to come good against Saracens, the reigning English, as well as European, champions.

"I don't even think there's been that many huge changes to his game in recent times — he was always terrier-like, he had a good kicking game, had a good pass and was incredibly brave," O'Gara wrote in his Irish Examiner column published before Friday's team announcement.

"Untimely injuries piled on top of a dearth of confidence almost suffocated Duncan Williams at one stage. He hit absolute rock bottom.

"But thankfully he found a strength of mind that enabled him to train harder and when the break came, he was ready to put all his hurt into telling performances,"

But while Murray is out, Munster's other two Lions representatives - CJ Stander, back from an ankle injury and flank Peter O'Mahony, the province's captain, are fit.

London club Saracens, however, had the largest share of any team in Gatland's squad and all six of their Lions -  goalkicker Owen Farrell, back row Billy Vunipola, locks George Kruis and Maro Itoje, hooker Jamie George and prop Mako Vunipola - will start against Munster.

Duncan Taylor remains sidelined with a chest injury, so Argentina's Marcelo Bosch continues in midfield alongside Saracens captain and former England centre Brad Barritt.

Agence France-Presse

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Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
NSW-Queensland 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
NZ Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Maori All Blacks 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0