Rob Penney urges IRFU to snap up 'genius' Conor Murray
ROB PENNEY has highlighted the need for the IRFU to tie down Conor Murray to a substantial contract, describing his scrum-half as "world-class".
The Munster coach could barely contain himself when lavishing praise on the 24-year-old following his 20-minute cameo off the bench in Munster's narrow win over Leinster in Thomond Park.
"How good is that kid?" marvelled Penney. "If he's not the best in the world right now he's not that far away. Conor is a bit of a genius. To produce a performance like that coming off the back of no football was superb. He really is a special talent."
The scrum-half is one of a number of Ireland internationals in the final year of their contracts and he is attracting a lot of interest from big-spending French clubs following his performances in Australia with the Lions.
Toulouse are just one of the clubs confirmed to be enquiring about the Ireland scrum-half and there is a real danger he will be lost to Munster if the IRFU do not make him an offer commensurable with his standing in the game.
The IRFU are facing into a period of negotiations with a number of their international roster over the coming weeks and months and unless they move quickly and decisively run the risk of losing them to French or English clubs.
Munster took the bragging rights from Saturday's Irish derby but more worryingly for Leinster than the result was the confirmation by coach Matt O'Connor that Brian O'Driscoll is rated as no better than 50-50 for their European opener against Ospreys.
O'Driscoll injured his calf in training last week. He will be joined on the treatment table by Lote Tuqiri after the former Australian international strained his hamstring again and it is anticipated both players will miss the Ospreys' game.
Leinster are also fretting on the fitness of hooker Richardt Strauss. The Ireland international is suffering from a mystery ailment that has yet to be determined. There was good news as Luke Fitzgerald played the final 25 minutes of the game after he replaced Fergus McFadden.