Conor Murray and Chris Farrell resumed full training this morning with the Munster squad and will now be considered for a place in the side to meet Zebre in Parma on Sunday next, kick-off 3.30pm Irish time.
Scrum-half Murray hasn’t played a match since the last of Ireland’s three Test matches against Australia last June because of a neck injury. Farrell has been ruled out because of a knee injury he picked up in an Irish squad session last March.
Defence coach JP Perreira said today that if the two players come through this afternoon’s session that coach Johan van Graan will probably consider them for Sunday’s game.
Alby Mathewson, the New Zealander who has stood in for Murray during his injury spell, has impressed to such a degree that he has extended his part-time contract for another three weeks. He will remain with the province until the end of March.
Also returning to full training this week are flanker Conor Oliver and threequarters Ronan O’Mahony, Calvin Nash and Jaco Taute. Centre Sammy Arnold has completed his return to play protocols and has been training with the Ireland squad and so could be in line for inclusion in the side to meet the USA at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
However, the bad news in the Munster camp is that second-row Jean Kleyn suffered a thumb injury against the Cheetahs last time out and will be out for at least six weeks having undergone surgery. He will miss the two European Champions Cup games against Castres next month.
The following are progressing with rehabilitation: Liam O’Connor (knee), Rhys Marshall (hamstring), Tommy O’Donnell (ankle), Jack O’Donoghue (knee), Dave O’Callaghan (foot), James Hart (knee), Dan Goggin (knee), Stephen Fitzgerald (foot).