THE Irish Rugby Football Union has said they will make Ireland and Munster scrum-half Conor Murray the highest paid player in Ireland in a bid to fend off interest.
The Limerick man has been out of action for some time thanks to injury, but could be set to earn an annual salary of around €800,000 a year.
That estimated figure is in line with the combined national contract and private money which is now standard for elite players of the game.
The raise comes as the 29-year-old’s deal nears its expiry date of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Considering his standing in the sport, and his international ranking in his position, he could be enticed by a €1million offer from one of the top French clubs.
Also among the clubs who are in the market for a top-class Number 9 are London side Saracens.
Considering the two-time Lion’s tour player is a key man for both Munster and Ireland, the IRFU are set to go above and beyond to ensure he stays at home.
Murray continues to suffer from an injury which he has chosen to keep private.
This is becoming a common trend amongst professional rugby players, to keep medical details from being released into the public domain under data protection rules.
His negotiating position with the IRFU and foreign clubs could possibly be weakened by revealing the full extent of an ongoing neck problem.
Munster have hinted at the seriousness of the injury by signing former New Zealand scrum-half Alby Matheson on a four-month contract.
He looks set to feature in Munster’s showdown against Ulster this weekend at Thomond Park.
Munster head coach Johann Van Graan was pressed to comment on Murray’s injury woes by media yesterday, but he kept his lips sealed out of respect for his star man.
“I can’t comment on Conor,” he said.
“Upon his request, I can’t comment on his injury. He’s requested that his information remains confidential. I can’t really comment on that. I’ve got to respect that. From the first day we’ve handled his injury accordingly. We take care of all of our player very well I believe.”
According to Munster assistant coach Jerry Flannery, who was speaking to Limerick Leader yesterday, Murray is “progressing well”.