In a crucial blow, star halfback Conor Murray has been left out of Joe Schmidt’s squad for Ireland’s November internationals as he continues to recover from his neck injury.
“As always there have been a number of close calls in selection, meaning that some very good players have missed out in this particular window,” coach Schmidt said.
The 29-year-old hasn’t played since the June series against Australia. When queried about when he might be back, Murray quipped “a couple of weeks”, indicating his return could be by the end of November.
“A couple of weeks; obviously the [Ireland] squad is being named today and I haven’t chatted to anyone.
“I’ve been over and back and they know where I am with the injury.
“So, in and around the end of November hopefully.”
Murray’s situation has led to speculation around the status of his long-term health and career, but he insists that concerns have “snowballed”.
“This thing has snowballed, big time,” he said.
“When I was injured at the beginning we didn’t know when I was going to come back so I requested that we just say that I am just managing my injury because we were still trying to figure out how long it would be.”
Ireland has called in John Conney as a replacement for Murray for the four test series, which starts with against Italy in Chicago. The heavyweight clash between the world’s two best teams will be in Dublin on 17th November.
Ireland squad 2018 Guinness Series & The Rugby Weekend:
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 111 (c)
Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht) 7
Tadhg Beirne (Munster) 2
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 9
Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 62
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 26
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 81
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 39
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 6
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 22
Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 10
Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 50
Jordi Murphy (Ulster) 23
Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster) 51
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 50 (vc)
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 8
Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 6
Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 19
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 11
John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 15
Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 9
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 26
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 60
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 10
Will Addison (Enniskillen/Ulster) *
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 9
Sam Arnold (Garryowen/Munster) *
Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) *
Joey Carbery (Munster) 12
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 7
John Cooney (Terenure College/Ulster) 2
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 70
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 36
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 86
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 6
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 22
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster) 2
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 6
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 14
Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 76 (vc)
Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 11
Darren Sweetnam (Cork Constitution/Munster) 2
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