Thursday 22 August 2019

'It happens to teams all over the world' - Johann van Graan defends warm-up routine after latest injury

Conor Murray during Munster Rugby squad training at the University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Conor Murray during Munster Rugby squad training at the University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Munster head coach Johann van Graan has defended his team's warm-up routine after Conor Murray became the latest player this season to withdraw just before kick-off.

There was concern around the scrum-half on Saturday night after Murray pulled out of the PRO 14 clash against Connacht, with the Ireland star taking a bang on his neck following a counter-ruck.

Murray missed the first three months of the season with a neck issue, although Munster today confirmed that he should be fit to face Benetton in the PRO 14 quarter-final this Saturday. Murray's withdrawal was the fifth instance this season of a Munster player having to pull out after suffering an injury in the warm-up, with Keith Earls and Chris Farrell also hurting themselves before a match.

Speaking to RTÉ's Michael Corcoran after the win over Connacht, van Graan said that there was no pattern to the injuries and that he is 'very happy' with Munster's warm-up routine.

"We've thought about it," he said.

"We looked at all the individual instances. It happens to all teams all over the world. It's just in our case it's happened five times this season, and it's been all for different reasons.

"If it was all the same thing [every time] you could possibly look at it but we've looked at all the individual cases.

"[Murray's injury] was in the last breakdown before we went in. It was a counter-ruck and Conor took a knock to the head. That might happen in the way you warm up in your defence or your rucking drill. There's no way you foresee these things. Otherwise you wouldn't warm up.

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"You warm up for a rugby game, there is going to be contact. You've got to warm the body up for what's about to happen. We're happy with our process."

Munster were handed plenty of good injury news today, with Keith Earls and Joey Carbery likely to join Murray in being available for selection this weekend.

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