Munster’s hard-earned victory over Exeter Chiefs in Saturday’s Heineken European Cup has come at a serious injury cost.
Not alone has Tadhg Beirne been ruled out of the first two games in the Six Nations Championship because of the knee injury he picked up against Exeter but Andrew Conway has also had to withdraw from this week’s warm weather session in Portugal having suffered a knock in the same game.
But the most disappointing news of all is today’s report that Tommy O’Donnell has suffered another serious injury, head coach Johann van Graan reporting this morning that “we took him out of the match at half time with what we thought was a stinger to his shoulder but I’ll be very upset if that turns out to be the case after all the hard work Tommy put in to recover from another serious injury that kept him out for much of the earlier part of the season. It’s a big worry”.
There is better news of scrum-half Conor Murray who seemed to sustain a knock to his shoulder early in Saturday’s game.
He has travelled to the Algave with the Irish squad, van Graan stating that it was more of a stinger than anything else although also confirming that “it’s not why I replaced him with Alby Mathewson, that was a tactical call”.
Munster will field an almost entirely new squad for Saturday’s Pro 14 visit to Dragons in Cardiff because of Irish team demands.
But van Graan also expressed his satisfaction at being able to afford a number of fringe players game time over the next few weeks.