With news circulating over the past 24 hours that Munster have signed scrum-half cover in the form of former All Black Alby Mathewson, a question looms over the long term fitness of half-back star Conor Murray.
It is understood that it could be up to 4 months before the 67 time capped man is fit enough to take the pitch again. With the recurrence of a neck injury that plagued Murray prior to the Lions tour and throughout last season, Munster and the IRFU will be cautious to rush Murray back playing. It is hoped that surgery won’t be required, with rest and rehabilitation the first port of call, before further steps are taken.
A loss for Munster and Ireland
If this is the case, Murray will miss the majority of Munsters Champions Cup pool games. There is a possibility that he may return for the double header against Castres in December. With the unpredictable nature of injuries, it could take more or less time for Murray to get back playing again. It is also expected that Murray will miss the November series and the much anticipated clash with the mighty All Blacks. A key figure in Schmidt’s Ireland squad, this would be a major blow to preparations. However, with eyes firmly set on the World Cup in Japan, Ireland and Murray may have to play the long game to ensure he’s fit and ready to help Ireland challenge for the Webb Ellis.
Scrum half options
Munster are not short on scrum-half cover, Neil Cronin, Duncan Williams and James Hart are all fit, however Johann Van Graan has opted to bring in more experience in the form of Internationally capped Alby Mathewson. The 32 year-old has signed with the province on a 4 month deal. It is not yet understood when Mathewson will link up with Munster, as a work permit has yet to be granted. With a number of players due to return from injury, Munster will be hoping that this will offset the loss of Conor Murray.
Short-Term Signing | Former All Black scrum-half Alby Mathewson to join the province.
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) August 27, 2018
Munster take on the Toyota Cheetahs this Saturday in Thomond Park in the opening round of the 2018/2019 season.
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