Conor Murray is back in Munster squad for Sunday's game 2 weeks ago

Conor Murray is back in Munster squad for Sunday's game

And now the countdown begins.

September 22 is going to come in fast. Scotland in Japan in the Rugby World Cup.

The preparation is getting better and better, a Six Nations built on with a Grand Slam. A win over New Zealand built on with a win over New Zealand.

10 months out and every movement of every player this season is just going to get scrutinised more and more.

But the good news is that Conor Murray is back.

Whilst he won't be kitting out for Ireland against the USA on Saturday evening, he will be available for Munster for their PRO 14 encounter with Zebre.

The scrum half returns along with Chris Farrell and Conor Oliver and will start on the bench for the province.

Munster will take on Castres in two weeks in the Champions Cup at Thomond Park so the return of one of the world's finest number nines is a timely boost.

Munster: Mike Haley; Ronan O’Mahony; Rory Scannell, Tyler Bleyendaal (C); Alex Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, Neil Cronin; Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer; Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea; Gavin Coombes, Chris Cloete, Arno Botha.

Replacements: Mike Sherry, Brian Scott, Ciaran Parker, Sean O’Connor, Conor Oliver, Conor Murray, Bill Johnston, Chris Farrell.