British and Irish Lions 2017: Murray must prove fitness - Gatland

Conor Murray faces a race against time to get fit for the Lions tour of New Zealand
Conor Murray faces a race against time to get fit for the Lions tour of New Zealand

Lions coach Warren Gatland says Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray must play a game for Munster to make the tour of New Zealand this summer.

The 27-year-old has been sidelined since sustaining a neck/shoulder injury against Wales last month.

Gatland named Murray in his squad on Wednesday but revealed the player had suffered a setback in his recovery.

"He's going to need to play before he gets on the plane - that's important for us," said Gatland.

Gatland added that Murray has met with a neurologist over a nerve issue and is ruled out of Munster's European Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens on Saturday.

Munster also have a maximum of four Pro12 games remaining for Murray to get back in action.

"He's got a nerve issue and it is a concern. I spoke to the doctor. He was hoping to be fit this week but he had a setback a couple of weeks ago," said Gatland.

"I would be reluctant to take someone to New Zealand with a neck injury who hasn't played.

"He's incredibly fit. It's causing him a bit of discomfort and a bit of weakness in his arm, and hopefully he's going to be right in a couple of weeks - the neurologist is confident he is going to be okay."

Lions schedule

June 3 - Provincial Union Team, Whangarei
June 7 - Blues, Auckland
June 10 - Crusaders, Christchurch
June 13 - Highlanders, Dunedin
June 17 - Maori All Blacks, Rotorua
June 20 - Chiefs, Hamilton
June 24 - All Blacks, Auckland
June 27 - Hurricanes, Wellington
July 1 - All Blacks, Wellington
July 8 - All Blacks, Auckland

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