Ireland not ruling Murray out of clash with All Blacks

Ireland are hopeful that Conor Murray will be fit enough to return from injury in time to face the All Blacks in Dublin on November 17.

The scrum-half hasn’t played yet this season as he battles against a troublesome neck problem, but his presence in Carton House this week has come as a major boost.

Twelve of Ireland’s front-line players have been in camp at their Kildare base since Sunday, where Joe Schmidt is overseeing proceedings.

The Ireland head coach has delayed his arrival in Chicago ahead of Saturday’s clash against Italy and he will instead link up with the squad after that camp breaks up this afternoon.

New Zealand boss Steve Hansen recently suggested that Ireland may be playing mind games in terms of Murray’s return date and it now appears that he could yet feature against the world champions.

“No, he hasn’t been ruled out,” forwards coach Simon Easterby said at Ireland’s team base in Chicago.

“A little bit like a some of the others, he’s been on a longer-term injury list but he’s in camp this week. He’s been in Carton and we’ll probably assess him as we go through the series.

“Everyone that was selected in that squad is not necessarily fit now but they’re potentially available throughout the series. We’ll make decisions on each individual case as we go through the series.

“But with Conor it’s giving him an opportunity to get back in with us, working with some treatment but also there’s still potential.”

Easterby also allayed fears surrounding Rob Kearney and Peter O’Mahony’s respective shoulder injuries, which are not as bad as first feared.

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