Munster's quest to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup just got a whole lot harder.
According to The Irish Times, Munster will today announce that Conor Murray will be sidelined for at least the final pool games against Saracens and Sale. Murray has a neck issue picked up in the win against Zebre last week, and sub scrum half Duncan Williams is set to start.
Murray's influence for Munster has been increasing in the last 18 months, and his loss will be keenly felt as Munster prepare for their do-or-die clash with Saracens. Winning that game now looks a mammoth task, and would be another historic victory that would go down in Munster folklore.
Initial signs are that Murray will be fit again for the start Ireland's Six Nations campaign but Schmidt will be anxiously looking for signs of recovery from Murray in the coming weeks.
It will be interesting to see if the bookies put any stock into this news, with Munster already six-point underdogs going into the clash in Allianz Park.