Archer back for Munster as Pro12 season hits crucial stage

Stephen Archer provides Rob Penney with an additional boost this week following Munster’s much-needed RaboDirect Pro12 victory over Edinburgh at Musgrave Park on Saturday.

Archer returns to training alongside two other injury victims, Barry O’Mahony and Sean Scanlon, at UL today and he is expected to be available for Saturday’s must-win game away to Scarlets. The Munster tight head limped off as Munster lost at home to Cardiff a month ago with a thigh injury.

Of more importance to Munster, and high on Archer’s personal agenda, will be the need to help the province to victory over a side that emerged with a shock win in Cork two months ago. In what is turning out to be a six-into-four race for semi-final places, Munster are sixth, a point adrift of Saturday’s opponents but still only one bonus-point win away from Glasgow in second. Victory this weekend will keep the pot boiling, defeat will heap pressure on Penney’s boys seven matches away from league completion.

They go into the match on a bit of a high following a decent 30-3 win over Michael Bradley’s Edinburgh. Ian Keatley won the man of the match award following his 20-point contribution on a wet night when Munster got the acclaim of the 5,000 or so fans for their ability to deal with the conditions and for two spectacular tries they scored late in the game.

But Keatley instead heaped the praise back on others: “It takes a squad to win trophies and that’s what we are going for this year. This is a key period of the season when the lads are off on international duty. We still have a job to do here, for the likes of JJ (Hanrahan), Ivan (Dineen), Danny (Barnes), Johne (Murphy) and Ian (Nagle). All of those guys played well, they made a huge contribution.”

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