Muscleman Euan Murray signs up to continue conflict

 

England's forwards never perform cartwheels of joy when they see Euan Murray's name on a Scotland team sheet in Six Nations week: indeed, they would not object to all Calcutta Cup games being played on a Sunday – a development that would remove the threat of the devout Christian, who refuses to play on the Sabbath for reasons of conscience.

Unfortunately for the red-rose pack, they must now reconcile themselves to seeing rather more of Murray than they might have hoped. Not only will the 32-year-old prop, generally rated among the half-dozen strongest scrummagers in European rugby, be anchoring the Scottish set piece at Twickenham on Saturday, but he has also signed up for a lengthy tour of duty in the Premiership.

The much-travelled front-rower has agreed a long-term contract extension at Worcester that will probably keep him at Sixways until retirement. "Euan has made a very good impression in the short space of time he's had here," said the Midlanders' head coach, Richard Hill, who signed Murray from Newcastle earlier in the campaign.

"It's not easy for someone coming in mid-season, but he's settled in remarkably well. He gives us strength in depth in the front row – the kind of depth teams like Leicester and Northampton have always had. You can't get away from the fact that you need a very powerful scrum to be successful in the Premiership."

Murray, born in Glasgow, initially moved to Worcester to safeguard his international ambitions after Newcastle were relegated from the Premiership last spring. He first hit the high spots with Northampton, whom he joined from Glasgow Hawks, and was one of only two Scots selected in the original Lions party for the 2009 tour of South Africa. He has also played club rugby in France, with Agen.

Meanwhile, the France coach Philippe Saint-André sprang something of a surprise last night when he jettisoned the Toulouse flanker Yannick Nyanga from his squad for this weekend's Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome. Nyanga had been expected to feature in the back row on Sunday after a resurgence in form over the past few months.

Saint-André has yet to name his starting line-up, but there are now only four loose forwards vying for places: the former captain Thierry Dusautoir and the fast-developing No 8 Louis Picamoles, both of whom play alongside Nyanga at club level; the Clermont Auvergne forward Damien Chouly and the Montpellier flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo.

"It was heartbreaking to tell Yannick he had to leave," said the coach, who made the call once Picamoles was declared fully fit after a week-long struggle with thigh trouble.

Most French observers had expected Nyanga to be selected ahead of his clubmate Dusautoir, but the World Cup captain's recent performances, not least in the dramatic Heineken Cup game with Leicester 11 days ago, have underlined his value to Les Bleus.

News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'