CJ Stander and Joey Carbery are unlikely to be seen again in Munster colours for the next month or so as they recover from cheek bone and hamstring injuries respectively. Stander sustained the facial damage at a late stage of Ireland’s defeat by England last month and the prediction that he would be ruled out for a month seems to be coming to fruition.
“CJ is likely to be fit to return against France on Sunday week or the following week against Wales”, confirmed Munster coach Johann van Graan this morning.
The Welsh game comes a fortnight prior to Munster’s European Cup quarter-final against Edinburgh at Murrayfield. Van Graan’s team has only a PRO14 match against Zebre at Thomond Park on March 22 before the clash with the Scots.
Much the same scenario centres on Carbery with van Graan not diminishing the extent of his hamstring problem, simply stating that with such a problem, the outcome is never certain.
Meanwhile, the team’s hard fought but well deserved victory over the Ospreys in Swansea on Friday night has created a fresh feeling of optimism in the Munster camp. Preparations for Saturday evening’s (5pm) visit to Parc y Scarlets got under way this afternoon with van Graan unsure as to how many of his players currently located at Carton House as part of the Irish camp will be available.
Most interest will centre on Tadhg Beirne whose late inclusion against the Ospreys played such an important part in the team’s victory in Swansea. The likelihood is that Joe Schmidt will decide to keep him at Carton with a view to his participation against France although he may also be released to Munster to afford him valuable game time against Scarlets.
van Graan more or less dismissed the possibility that Conor Murray could be involved to give him more game time after a lengthy injury lay-off period with Neilly Cronin and Alby Mathewson, as they were so successfully against Ospreys, again given the opportunity to again display their talents at the base of the scrum.