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02nd May 2017

You have to respect Rassie Erasmus’s realistic approach to Conor Murray’s injury

His health comes first

Darragh Culhane

With the Lions set to jet off to New Zealand at the end of the month, Conor Murray is in a race against time to be fit for the trip.

Lions boss Warren Gatland has already issued an ultimatum to the Munster man that he must prove his fitness by playing for his province before the squad boards the plane to Auckland on May 29.

Murray has been out injured since Ireland’s defeat to Wales on March 10 in the Six Nations, after suffering nerve damage to his shoulder and neck.

Yet, Munster coach Rassie Erasmus was quick to say that Murray wouldn’t be rushed back into the fold.

“(The Lions) only comes around every four years but also you can’t be stupid. After this Lions series his rugby career is not over, you know, he’s got another few years to go.”

“So, obviously that plays a role but that won’t rush him back. If we didn’t rush him back for (Champions Cup) semi-final in Ireland why would we now rush him back all of a sudden? It’s bad timing.”

Murray is still in contention to return to the side this weekend and Erasmus has given an update on the 28-year-old’s fitness.

“He’ll again be touch and go for this week. I can’t tell you, I haven’t actually seen him this morning. But last week he wasn’t ready to go. So we’ll see how he goes.”

“Every week he contributes more in training sessions and he is doing more and more and more. And he has been ticking all the boxes, much slower than we hoped to, but he is ticking the boxes. Hopefully this week he gets to the end of the week and we can actually select him. So there is a chance, there is a chance.”

Murray will have two opportunities to prove his fitness to Gatland with Munster playing against Connacht in the final round of Guinness PRO 12 games or in the semi-final on May 20.

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