'I'll play before the Lions Tour' - Conor Murray delivers the news Warren Gatland has been hoping for
Conor Murray has declared himself fully fit and says he could even make his return to the field for Munster against Connacht on Saturday.
The Ireland scrum-half has not taken the field since suffering a shoulder stinger when playing against Wales almost two months ago. Initially, he expected to come back within a week or two of the problem, but the issue has continued to limit his ability to pass the ball and take contact.
Now, though, he is back in full training with Munster and if he doesn’t feature at Thomond Park this weekend he’ll almost certainly be part of the team for the province’s Guinness PRO12 semi-final in two weeks’ time.
And that means he will meet Warren Gatland’s requirement that he proves his fitness in time to go on the Lions tour to New Zealand next month.
“I'm good, finally. I've been training with the lads for the last couple of weeks and trained Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I've been doing gradual return to play contact and yesterday did full contact, tackling people and taking proper hits, getting tackled myself and feeling pretty good,” he said at a Maximuscle event this morning.
“So hopefully I'll be playing really soon, potentially I'll be involved this weekend, we'll wait and see how we go.
“It is and it was a day by day thing, you have to wait and see how you react the next day after you exercise and it's been really good.
“So I've got my strength back and it's a case of taking contact and not being worried about taking contact, which I haven't been for the last week or two.
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“So pretty positive, yeah.”
Murray admits he was concerned that his season was in jeopardy when the injury refused to play ball.
“Initially we thought it would come back a lot sooner than it has come back and with the uncertainty around the nerve injury, I was pretty worried because there's Cups to play for and there's a big tour in the summer that thankfully I was selected on and really want to go because it's going to be massive,” he said.
“So yeah, there was worry there because with a nerve injury it's not like a muscle injury where you're told you'll be back in four weeks and you're back in four weeks, it's a little bit of an unknown.
“Nerves are sensitive, they can come back in a week or can take six or seven weeks, or they can take longer.
“Thankfully I'm at a stage where my strength is back and I'm taking contact, and I feel pretty good. I feel really good, and I feel ready to play and hopefully I'll be involved potentially this weekend.
“I would put a good bet on that I would be back for the semi-final. With the way I've been progressing over the last couple of weeks, it would suggest that I am ready to play.
“I've been staying fit, I've been able to run and to do skills and it was just the strength thing that we were waiting to come back and I feel ready to go.
“And if it's not this weekend for whatever reason, if I wasn't picked or people wanted to rest me a little bit longer, that would give me another week as it's the Champions Cup final to regenerate as well. would put a good bet on that I would be back for the semi-final. With the way I've been progressing over the last couple of weeks, it would suggest that I am ready to play.”