Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray has declared himself fit ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand after returning to full training with his province Munster.
REUTERS: Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray has declared himself fit ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand after returning to full training with his province Munster.
The 28-year-old halfback, who had an inspired game when Ireland beat the All Blacks in Chicago last year, suffered nerve damage to his shoulder during the Six Nations loss to Wales in March and feared it may end his career.
“I would be lying if I said no,” Murray told the Irish Independent when asked if he had thoughts of having to retire from the game.
“That thought comes into your head, ‘Is it going to get better? Do I need surgery?,’ all those things.
“But talking to the physios, working with them, testing my strength every week, it was always improving.
“That thought does come into your head automatically, because it means so much for me to be a rugby player and I have a good few years left still.”
Lions coach Warren Gatland named Murray in the 41-man squad for the 10-match tour last month along with Rhys Webb of Wales and England’s Ben Youngs.
“I genuinely think the competition is really, really high,” Murray added.
“It’s a level playing field and it’s going to be about who plays better on tour. With that regard it’s going to be really tough, and I have no idea that where I stand that way …
“I really respect the other two lads, genuinely, I think they’re really good players so hopefully that will bring the best out in myself.”
Gatland did, however, warn Murray he would have to prove his fitness with some match time before the departure for New Zealand on May 29.
Murray hopes to feature in Munster’s Pro12 match against Connacht at Thomond Park in Limerick on Saturday, where they will be looking to secure the top seeding for the playoffs.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney)