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.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific