Conor Murray nears return as he rubbishes 'crazy rumours'
By Brian Barry
Last Updated: 25/10/18 7:50am
Ireland and Munster scrum-half Conor Murray says he is nearing a return from injury and rubbished "crazy rumours" surrounding his absence.
Murray has not played since Ireland's third Test against Australia in June with a neck problem ruling him out of Munster's opening eight games of the new season.
The 29-year-old signed a new three-year IRFU and Munster contract earlier this month and says he is back in training and nearly ready for a full return to action.
"I'm nearly back," Murray said. "I'm doing 90 per cent of training with Munster for the last three weeks or so, doing modified contact on the sideline.
"The reason we kept quiet at the start is because we didn't know what (the injury) was. That was my whole thinking behind it, it wasn't ever the whole data protection or me keeping it secret.
"It was, 'Look, I don't know what this is yet fully, I don't know when I'm going to be back, so let's just say I'm managing an injury.' From my side, I said it to Johann [van Graan], 'Let's just keep it here and say I'm managing an injury until we find out how long it's going to take.'
"I think a week or two later, we said it was a neck injury, that we were managing my neck injury and then by the time we said that, the rumour mill had started, everything had snowballed and it was just this big deal."
"It's just the same neck issue I've had pretty much. I got a couple of bangs in Australia and a bit of wear and tear basically. I got a bang in each game. In the third game, I probably got my biggest bang and it just flared up over the summer when I was away."
Murray admits his silence prompted speculation, and that some of that speculation turned negative and nasty.
"The rumours were crazy," he explains. "People make up things, people are in a pub and they're diagnosing you. That's there. That's been there before. I remember Paulie (Paul O'Connell) was injured for over a year. He had bad rumours that people were saying about different health reasons. Just bad rumours.
"That's the world we're living in. That will continue for the next fella that does it. If there's not much clarity around an injury, there'll be rumours and that's just the way it is. The way Ireland is. The way most countries are, I suppose. You can't do anything about it."
Murray says that progress has been positive but indicated that the November internationals, which include a mammoth showdown with the All Blacks in Dublin, will come too soon for him.
"I'm nearly there, that's what we can say, I'm nearly there. I think in the next few weeks I'll be allowed to play. I'm itching to play, I'm pretty much fully training and I feel good. It's just making sure it's right and the lines of communication with Munster, the IRFU, the national coaches, everyone has been clear and they're happy I just get it right and make sure I come back ready to go, rather than pushing it.
"This isn't an injury you can push, it's in my neck and you've just to make sure it's strong enough to come back and play professional rugby.
"I'm highly unlikely to be named in the squad, having not played. I kind of knew that anyway, I hadn't talked to anyone but I knew that it would be a push to get back for November."
Nonetheless, Murray is looking forward to the upcoming internationals through a different lense.
"As a fan it's really exciting, this November is going to be really, really cool. The last few weeks at Munster and being a fan, it's been enjoyable to watch because the lads have gone quite well, particularly in Europe.
"But then there's the other side of being a player. If you're fit, you have the potential of being involved in those games; Europe with Munster and November with Ireland. That's tough, that is tough. Particularly with Ireland, we've said it before, no matter what player it is - a player gets injured and another player comes in and the machine keeps going, it keeps on turning out performances and results."
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