Thursday 17 August 2017

Murray losing fitness race as Scannell emerges as fresh doubt for Saracens

Conor Murray is a doubt for the weekend
Conor Murray is a doubt for the weekend
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Munster look set to be without Conor Murray for their crunch Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens next Saturday.

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus said that the Ireland scrum-half is a “big doubt” for the Aviva Stadium clash, while centre Rory Scannell is also likely to miss out having damaged his ankle during the second-half of Saturday’s win over Ulster.

Scrum-half Duncan Williams was withdrawn from the game with a groin issue, but is expected to be fit for next week’s game, while Erasmus was up-beat on the prospects of CJ Stander making the cut.

Darren Sweetnam came off with a head injury after a first-minute collision with Charles Piutau and will undergo the Return to Play protocols this week.

“CJ (Stander) has a relatively good (chance of recovering from an ankle injury) but Conor I am not sure. He is not improving or healing as we would like him to heal. It’s been slower. He would be a big doubt for next week,” Erasmus said.

“Duncan Williams (groin) was pulled from this weekend’s rugby as a precaution. If it was Saracens this week Duncan would definitely have played.

“I think (Scannell’s injury) is very serious. We will probably only have clarity on that on Monday. It would be a worry.

"You could see immediately (Darren) needed to go for a HIA."

Despite their injury issues, Munster managed to see off Ulster with a 22-20 win and have one foot in a home semi-final ahead of next week's show-down with the European champions in Dublin.

“Form and momentum is huge, it was very important to kick on with a win,” Peter O’Mahony said.

“Tough games, come out the right side of games we wouldn’t have come out on last year. It’s very satisfying to do that.”

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