Murray lucky to avoid serious eye injury - Murphy

Conor Murray was lucky to only need eight stitches to his head after Ireland's clash with England at Twickenham in the Six Nations.

Murray needed treatment around his eye after England full-back Mike Brown tried to kick the ball from the scrum-half's hands during Saturday's 21-10 defeat to Eddie Jones' side.

Brown was not punished despite a review at the time of the incident and later avoided a citing, leaving him free to play in England's next encounter with Wales on March 12.

Ireland assistant coach Richie Murphy expects Murray to be fit to face Italy on the same weekend, and says the 26-year-old was fortunate not to suffer a more serious injury.

"Conor's got a split next to his eye, he's had eight stitches but he's grand," Murphy told a media conference. "He didn't train today, we're just looking after him a little bit. 

"He's obviously a little bit bumped up, he got a bit of treatment in that game, so it's a case of looking after him. 

"He was lucky obviously it was just in the corner of the eye, but he's fine and he'll be ready for next week."

Murphy hopes Jared Payne will also be available when Italy travel to Dublin, the centre having undergone individual sessions in his recovery from a hamstring injury.

He added: "Jared Payne did a full session today, not with the team, but with the fitness guys and medics. He came through that fine and it looks like he'll be fully fit to start next week."

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