The scrum-half could yet make a miraculous comeback against the world champions.
Ryan Bailey reports from the Aviva Stadium
JOE SCHMIDT HAS once again refused to rule Conor Murray out of contention for next Saturday’s marquee November Test against the All Blacks, stating that it will be the scrum-half’s decision if he’ll be involved.
Murray, who was at the Aviva Stadium for this evening’s 28-17 victory over Argentina, wasn’t in Ireland camp last week as he continues his comeback from the neck injury that has kept him sidelined this season.
But Schmidt said he will speak with the 29-year-old on Sunday to decide whether he will link up with the national squad at Carton House ahead of the hugely-anticipated clash with the world champions.
“I’m going to chat to Conor and see how he is,” Schmidt said post-match, when asked if Murray would train with Ireland this week.
“It will really be Conor’s call, so I can’t answer that until I’ve chatted to him.”
Murray wasn’t named in Schmidt’s 42-man panel for the November internationals, but the possibility of him making a miraculous comeback was first mooted by Simon Easterby in Chicago a fortnight ago.
It lead All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen to joke that the IRFU were playing an ‘Irish trick’ by leaving him out, but Schmidt said that was more to take the pressure off Murray in his comeback.
“Well again it was really to take the pressure off him,” the Kiwi continued.
“Kieran Marmion did a super job tonight, Luke came off the bench and did a good job and John Cooney came off the bench last week and did a good job.
“The window of opportunity for us is fantastic for those guys to demonstrate they can do a good job at the level.
Later in his press conference, Schmidt concluded by saying Murray is ‘highly unlikely’ to come back into the equation for the third game of Ireland’s autumnal programme.
“It’s not the injury it’s really just how ready Conor is. How fully fit he is, because the injury itself has gone really well.
“So it is tough to come back into a game of that magnitude though. It is highly unlikely he will be involved, but as I said, I will talk to him.”
Subscribe to our new podcast, Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42, here: