Devout Murray out of Scots’ opener

THE Scottish Rugby Union have confirmed Euan Murray will sit out Scotland’s opening RBS 6 Nations match because of his religious views.

Devout Christian Murray has decided he can no longer play on Sundays and will miss France’s visit to Murrayfield on February 7.

SRU director of communications, Dominic McKay, said: “Scottish Rugby head coach Andy Robinson has been in discussions with Euan for a number of months and is aware of Euan’s desire to not play on Sundays.

“We very much respect Euan’s wishes and support Euan. Euan continues to be a valuable member of the squad.”

The Northampton prop missed Scotland’s autumn tests as he battled back from the broken ankle he suffered during the Lions’ summer tour of South Africa, which kept him out until late last month.

But the SRU were adamant that his decision would not affect his selection prospects for the rest of the Six Nations, with Scotland’s other matches all falling on Saturdays.

Murray has played for Scotland on a Sunday before and turned out for Northampton in a Guinness Premiership defeat by London Wasps on Sunday, February 22.

But the 28-year-old admitted earlier in the year that he had been wrestling with his conscience over the issue.

The tighthead prop developed his religious views in 2005 after a string of injuries threatened to end his professional career.

He suffered a torn quad muscle, a neck injury and an Achilles problem in quick succession and decided to transform his life after an on-pitch collision sparked a severe seizure while he was playing for Glasgow.

Speaking in 2006, Murray said: “I always suspected that all my injuries were due to the way I was leading my life, and I thought maybe I should change.

“Then I heard the gospel which is the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and realised that I had to believe that with all my heart.

“This faith was a major factor in my decision to carry on playing rugby.

“I felt I was leading an immoral lifestyle. I don’t know if it contributed to my injuries, but whatever the case I’m here now and I know the truth.”

Scotland last month defeated Fiji and Australia, for the first time since 1982, before missing out on a clean sweep with a narrow defeat by Argentina.

Murray has a kindred spirit in his sport in former All Blacks flanker Michael Jones.

Jones missed three World Cup matches in 1991 because of his beliefs, including the semi-final defeat by Australia. He was omitted from the squad for the 1995 World Cup because New Zealand were scheduled to play their quarter-final and semi-final on Sundays.


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