Conor Murray is “lucky” to be fit for Ireland’s Six Nations match against Italy in Dublin, according to the assistant coach Richie Murphy.
Murray received eight stitches around his eye after being kicked in the face accidentally by full-back Mike Brown in Ireland’s 21-10 defeat to England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Murray sat out training on Tuesday but is expected to face Italy on Saturday week after escaping serious injury in the Twickenham loss. Brown avoided censure after being deemed to have legitimately attempted to kick the ball clear at the ruck when catching Murray in the face, with the scrum-half on the ground after a tackle.
“Conor’s got a split next to his eye, he’s had eight stitches but he’s grand,” said Murphy. “He didn’t train today, we’re just looking after him a little bit.
“He’s obviously a little bit bumped up, he got a bit of treatment in that game, so it’s a case of looking after him. He was lucky obviously it was just in the corner of the eye, but he’s fine and he’ll be ready for next week.”
Jared Payne should be fit for the visit of Italy, with the Ulster centre closing in on a return after hamstring trouble. The 30-year-old missed Ireland’s defeat at Twickenham after damaging his hamstring in the 10-9 loss to France, but is now on course to face the Italians.
“Jared Payne did a full session today, not with the team but with the fitness guys and the medics,” said Murphy, confirming Ireland have no further fresh injury concerns. “He came through that fine and it looks like he’ll be fully fit to start next week.”