Friday 24 January 2020

Murray can rise to Racing challenge - Van Graan


Conor Murray in action for Munster against Saracens. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Conor Murray in action for Munster against Saracens. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Johann van Graan believes Conor Murray is coming into form ahead of Munster's pivotal clash with Racing 92 on Sunday.

With John Cooney flying for Ulster, the experienced scrum-half is under pressure for his Ireland place for the Six Nations opener against Scotland.

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Murray has endured a tough 12 months since returning from a neck injury and has struggled to recapture his best form for Munster and Ireland, but his coach is satisfied that his star man is on track ahead of the crunch Champions Cup fixture.

"I thought the last two games he was really good and against Saracens away I thought he managed the game really well; he kicked well, defended well and had no issue with his pass," he said. "I really felt he managed the game pretty well on Friday night (against Ulster). Any No 9 and 10, if your forwards don't dominate it makes it difficult for you and I thought he did that pretty well.

"That's why there's a national coach and he will select whoever he feels is the best. For Munster, the last two games, I've been satisfied with Conor."

Murray will be a key man for Munster in Paris given the issues at out-half. Joey Carbery is out for up to four months with his wrist injury, while Tyler Bleyendaal is still sidelined with his neck problem and JJ Hanrahan is rated 50/50 with a hamstring issue.

The Kerryman will be given until tomorrow to prove his fitness, but if he fails to make it Van Graan will choose between Academy star Ben Healy and centre Rory Scannell.

Andrew Conway and Mike Haley are also doubts for the weekend, with Shane Daly on standby if either man doesn't make it.

Irish Independent

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