Conor Murray commits his future to Munster, the wonderful Winx takes a dip

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Winx walks in the sea at Altona Beach after her victory in the Turnbull Stakes. Photograph: Vince Caligiuri/Getty

Winx walks in the sea at Altona Beach after her victory in the Turnbull Stakes. Photograph: Vince Caligiuri/Getty

There was good news for Irish rugby yesterday as the IRFU announced star scrumhalf Conor Murray has committed his future to Munster and Ireland, signing a new deal at Thomond Park until June 2022. The 29-year-old is yet to feature this season due to an unspecified injury, but yesterday’s news allays fears over both his long term health and that he could pursue a move overseas. Indeed, as Gerry Thornley writes: “Instead it cements his status as Irish rugby’s most valuable player and in giving a clear indication into the esteem in which he is held by the IRFU, Joe Schmidt and Munster, the new deal strongly suggests he’ll be back playing before too long.” The Munster nine, who has picked up 67 Ireland caps since his debut in 2011, is expected to earn in the region of €2 million over the next three years.

In her column today Sonia O’Sullivan talks about one of the greatest tools of recovery for an athlete - a walk in the sea - which is a method used by arguably Australia’s biggest sporting star, the unbeaten mare Winx. The mighty Winx was pictured in the sea at Altona Beach, in the western suburbs of Melbourne, after she swooped to victory in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington last weekend - her 28th consecutive victory and 21st Group One. And this post-race routine is one familiar to O’Sullivan, she writes: “The Melbourne Cup may be the race that stops the nation, but Winx is the horse in form that stops people in their tracks. Her trainer, Chris Waller, has installed an aqua-walker in their stable back in Sydney, which mimics the water recovery method. This is clearly no old wives’ tale. I also remember doing something similar when in school back in Cobh over 30 years ago.”

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