Murphy backs O’Leary to come back stronger

GEORDAN MURPHY reckons injured Munster and Ireland scrum-half Tomás O’Leary will return next season better than ever.

O’Leary was ruled out of next month’s Lions tour to South Africa after fracturing his left ankle playing with Munster last week.

Leicester Tigers ace Murphy knows only too well the cruel pain of missing a big tournament after breaking his leg in a 2003 World Cup warm-up match against Scotland.

O’Leary sustained his injury heartbreak just 36 days before the Lions’ opening match of the tour, and ironically, Murphy suffered the same fate a day earlier before the finals in Australia.

And the Irish Grand Slam winner intends to offer O’Leary his expert injury advice.

Murphy said: “I haven’t managed to get hold of Tomás yet but I will do so in the next couple of weeks because I broke my leg in 2003 and missed out on the World Cup.

“I know the disappointment he must be feeling. It’s absolutely devastating for Tomás because he’s a great player who has had a great season for Munster this year.

“It’s a real shame and he is a huge loss for Munster. Peter Stringer is an able deputy but everyone will be disappointed for Tomas.

“The treatment he will receive will be top-class and while it will be a hard road, hopefully it won’t be too long before he is back. Big injuries like that just take time to heal.

“Tomás is an exceptional footballer and a really nice guy so I don’t think he will lose confidence in his ability.

“His team-mates will support him and he just needs to keep working hard. I’m sure once he is back on the field, he will come back better than ever.”

Three-time European finalist Murphy will be in action for Leicester in their Heineken Cup semi-final against Cardiff Blues on Sunday.

The winner of that Millennium Stadium tie will set up a final date with Irish rivals Munster or Leinster at Murrayfield next month.

Murphy said: “I’m pretty nervous and it’s a huge task for us. Cardiff are the form team and they are in their own backyard “They have some class players throughout their side and are in a rich vein of form. They will be difficult to beat and we hope we catch them on an off-day.

“But the incentive is great and I’m desperate to play in a fourth final. We’re in a reasonable position but we haven’t won any silverware yet and that’s what we aspire to do.

“We need to play to your potential and hopefully get a bit of luck. It’s not rocket science but we’ll hopefully turn up and play at our best.”


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