Conor Murray: signing new Munster deal ‘an easy decision’
Injured Ireland scrumhalf hopeful of making return to action ‘sooner rather than later’
Conor Murray after Munster’s 20-19 Champions Cup quarter-final win over Toulon. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
The scrumhalf signed a new deal with the IRFU on Wednesday, which will keep him at Thomond Park until June 2022 at least.
Murray made his Munster debut against Connacht in 2010 - since going on to earn 116 caps - and opting to stay with the province was a straightforward choice for the 29-year-old.
He said: “It was a pretty easy decision really, it didn’t take long for me to decide. It’s the place I grew up, watching Munster play and wanting to play for Munster.
“Luckily I’ve managed to do that a few times and I get to look forward to doing it more hopefully.”
Murray has yet to feature for Munster this season however, with an unspecified injury keeping him out of action since the summer.
His last appearance came in a green jersey during Ireland’s summer series in Australia, which the tourists won 2-1. However, he is hopeful a return to action is imminent.
Talking about his injury, Murray said: “There’s been a lot said about it. I’m back on the pitch and I’m training with the lads so hopefully sooner rather than later I’ll be able to put on the jersey again.”
Murray has been a pivotal figure during Ireland’s golden period under Joe Schmidt, and was an ever-present during this year’s Grand Slam success.
He was also part of the Irish side which made history by beating the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016, and he is ready for the formidable challenge the world champions will pose on in Dublin on November 17th.
“We’ve a great team and a great set-up with Ireland at the moment, we’re a really competitive squad - a competitive group that want to win every game they play in,” he said.
“Looking to this November, everyone is talking about the All Blacks game. We have two tough games to go before that [against Italy and Argentina] but that’s a massive, massive test to see where we’re at.”
Before attention turns to the November Tests however, the return of the Heineken Champions Cup dominates the domestic rugby landscape.
Munster begin their 2018-19 campaign with a trip to play Exeter at Sandy Park on Saturday, and Murray has admitted the romance of representing the province in Europe played a big part in his decision to sign a new deal.
He said: “A lot of things got out of my head when I was considering signing on. Having a stadium like Thomond Park and filling it out for European games I think there’s nothing like it.
“You get to do it three times a year and hopefully you get a home quarter-final. It’s a really special time to be Munster player when you get to play in Europe.”