Lion set for Falcons bow

Lions tourist Euan Murray will make his Newcastle Falcons debut on Friday night. [more]

Lion set for Falcons bow

Lions tourist Euan Murray will make his Newcastle Falcons debut on Friday night.

The 30-year-old prop was a serious contender for a Lions Test spot against the Springboks a year-and-a-half ago before injury cruelly cut short his debut tour.

Since representing Britain and Ireland’s elite, things haven’t gone too smoothly for the Scotland international, however.

Murray recovered from a lengthy period of rehabilitation last season but his refusal to play games on a Sunday due to his religious beliefs made it increasingly difficult for him to see off the challenge of South African Brian Mujati at Northampton Saints.

With the 2011 World Cup on the horizon, a lack of regular game time led to a serious worry that Murray’s international prospects would be damaged if he stayed in the East Midlands.

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The former Glasgow Warriors star therefore left Franklin’s Gardens by mutual consent last month and, despite report interest from a host of clubs in the UK and abroad, he linked up with 1997 Lions hero Alan Tait and Kingston Park.

Murray has now been named in Newcastle’s starting line up for the Aviva Premiership clash with Sale Sharks following a move which he described as ‘the best option for me and my family’.

With Newcastle playing the vast majority of their home games on a Friday night, chairman Dave Thompson had no concerns over Murray’s situation regarding Sundays and he fully expects his star signing to prove his worth against the Sharks tomorrow night.

“The board of directors plus Alan have looked at the potential fixture lists very closely for the coming seasons, and with Saracens owning their ground next season it is likely that only Wasps and Irish will play their home games on a Sunday,” said Thompson.

“You lose most internationals throughout the Six Nations. However Scotland play England on a Sunday in the 2011 Six Nations and if we can rearrange the Bath game for the Friday night of that weekend, Euan would be available for that as well.”

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