Stephen Larkham insisted there was no frustration at Munster with Joey Carbery’s current injury situation.
Munster’s star fly-half was named in Ireland’s World Cup squad for Japan having injured his ankle in the opening World Cup warm-up Test against Italy on August 7. Carbery was a replacement against Japan, Samoa and New Zealand but did not look comfortable and appeared to be struggling with the ankle.
The 25-year-old returned to Munster after Ireland’s quarter-final exit and has been given all the time he needs to properly rehabilitate his ankle before making a return to action and senior coach Larkham said the current good form of fellow fly-halves Tyler Bleyendaal and JJ Hanrahan meant there was no pressure to rush Carbery back.
“It’s not a frustration at the moment because Tyler and JJ are playing really good footy,” Larkham said yesterday.
“If you think about that situation, it’s a World Cup, comes around once every four years. It’s something that’s very special to every player who plays international rugby. Joey wanted to push himself, the coaches wanted him out there because he’s such a talented player. I can understand how the situation evolved.
“We’ve told Joey, and Joey’s on board, that we want to make sure that we rehab this properly and give him a good chance to actually get back to full peak fitness.
“So from our perspective, no frustration. Completely understand the situation.”
Carbery, Larkham said, was “progressing really well” with his rehabilitation.
“The way I understand it is, we are going to take it slow because there was a fair bit of damage there. He had a really good week last week, which is not to say it’s going to happen again this week.
“Everything is on track for the timeline that we had given him in the first place. He’s not playing this weekend, he’s not ready. We’ll reassess him next week to see how he goes and likewise the following week.”
Munster had only one fit senior fly-half available in last week’s Heineken Champions Cup pool opener at Ospreys, when Bleyendaal steered the side to a bonus-point victory but there is hope that Hanrahan and hooker Rhys Marshall will successfully come through this week’s main training sessions.
Hanrahan injured a hamstring in the PRO14 win over Ulster on November 9, while Marshall has featured only twice this season and not since October 25 having struggled with a knee injury.
“JJ and Rhys are fully reintegrated back into training today, but it’s the back end of their rehab programme, so we need to make sure that they come through today and then come through Thursday before they are considered for selection this weekend,” Larkham said.
Larkham also paid tribute to former All Blacks scrum-half Alby Mathewson, who on Monday announced this Saturday’s European clash would be his last appearance at Munster, whom he joined 15 months ago as injury cover for Conor Murray.
“It’s a sad moment really for everyone here and obviously for Alby. We knew when we signed him that this was going to eventuate at some stage, it’s just disappointing that it’s happening right now.
“He has been a massive contributor to the team. His on-field performances have been amazing. He has played for the All Blacks and you can see why. He consistently performs week-in, week-out.
“The biggest thing we are going to miss here is just his contribution to the young nines who we have got coming through.
“He is an excellent coach off the field. He is a super competitive person and that rubs off on everyone. But it is the work that he does behind the scenes with the nines, it will be more than missed within the organisation.”
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