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Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Murray sits out Sunday for Scots

Scotland prop Euan Murray
Murray has played on a Sunday for Scotland before

Scotland prop Euan Murray will miss the Six Nations opener against France on 7 February after requesting not to be chosen for matches played on Sundays.

The 29-year-old Northampton star is a devout Christian but he has played on Sundays before.

He faced France when Scotland opened the 2008 Six Nations on a Sunday.

Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Gordon McKie said: "We have been talking with Euan for some time now and fully respect his wishes."

Murray has suffered from several injury setbacks in recent seasons, including a broken shin bone and ankle ligament problems that cut short his British & Irish Lions involvement this year.

He returned a month ahead of schedule to help Northampton to a 15-13 win over Bath on 5 December.


However, Murray, who is reluctant to discuss his choice, will also miss any club games that fall on Sundays.

Murray's stance has been accepted by Scotland coach Andy Robinson, who said: "I've met with Euan throughout the summer and we talked about his beliefs and the fact that he wasn't going to be available for Sunday rugby.

"I totally understand his beliefs and respect them and we'll support him through this.

"It's about being part of a team. The make-up of any team is about having individual characters and different characters and you respect the decisions that the players have to make."

Robinson supports Murray in his beliefs

Former Scotland winger Kenny Logan is an ex-team-mate of Murray's and is also respectful of the prop's change of heart.

"It's his decision and we have to go with it," Logan told BBC Scotland.

"I played at Glasgow with Euan. He's a born-again, he's very happy, he's struggled with injuries and he wanted to change his life. He's done that.

"At Northampton he won't play on a Sunday. He's been up front with them and the club can rotate and know when to play him."

Former New Zealand flanker Michael Jones refused to play on Sundays due to his religious beliefs.

And Murray's decision is sure to draw parallels with Eric Liddell, the first Scot to win an Olympic gold medal.

Liddell, who played seven rugby internationals for Scotland, was a committed Christian and refused to run in the heats of the 100m at the Paris Olympics in 1924 because they were run on a Sunday.

He had been red hot favourite to win the event but did succeed with an unexpected 400m triumph after collecting bronze in the 200m.

Scotland begin next year's Six Nations campaign at home to France and also welcome England to Murrayfield.

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see also
Injury ends Murray's Lions tour
18 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union

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