There is mixed news for Munster ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Ospreys in Cork as Johann van Graan gets ready to welcome back more Irish internationals and a fit-again Chris Cloete but must plan without Billy Holland and Neil Cronin.
New signings Tadhg Beirne and Joey Carbery could make their first starts of the campaign after debuts off the bench in the first two rounds while van Graan said a “few more” Irish stars could return to make their seasonal bows when the Welsh region visits Musgrave Park.
Yet after losing first-choice scrum-half Conor Murray to what was yesterday confirmed as a neck injury, Munster now face the prospect of being without another No 9, Cronin, who faces “quite a few weeks” on the sidelines following a shoulder injury sustained in the 25-10 loss at Glasgow Warriors on Friday.
Experienced lock Holland also failed to finish the game at Scotstoun, suffering a rib cartilage injury, but the promotion to the starting line-up of Beirne could soften that blow.
Of the returning internationals, van Graan said: “They’re itching to play, we’ll have a few back this weekend and then let’s call it the last bunch of them back next weekend.
So over the next two weekends, everybody bar injuries and niggles will be in the team.
“If you look at the games coming up it’s impossible for the guys to just keep playing 80 and 40 minutes. We don’t feel it now but we will feel it in three or four weeks. And we’ll just have to rotate the squad and the players know that we used more than 50 guys last year and if you keep playing the same 15 guys we’re going to run out of steam.”