Earls and Farrell should make Six Nations opener

Johann van Graan is optimistic both Keith Earls and Chris Farrell will prove their fitness for Ireland ahead of the Guinness Six Nations opener at home to Scotland in 12 days.

Earls and Farrell should make Six Nations opener

Johann van Graan is optimistic both Keith Earls and Chris Farrell will prove their fitness for Ireland ahead of the Guinness Six Nations opener at home to Scotland in 12 days.

Wing Earls and centre Farrell, two of an eight-man Munster contingent set to link up with Andy Farrell’s Ireland squad this week ahead of the head coach’s maiden championship campaign, were ruled out of their province’s Heineken Champions Cup pool finale against Ospreys in Limerick yesterday.

Earls and Farrell both suffered minor knee injuries in training during last week’s preparations for yesterday’s game but the Munster head coach was hopeful they would be in the selection mix when Farrell names his team to face the Scots a week tomorrow.

“I guess they’ll all link up with Ireland. Our medical team and the Irish medical team will obviously speak to each other so a bit of time before the first Test but that’s up to Faz,” van Graan said.

“He wasn’t ready for this weekend and Earlsy is one of the most important players at Munster and with the national team, so hopefully he’ll be good to go for the first Test but that’s over to the national team now.”

Of the circumstances of Farrell’s bruising on the knee, van Graan added: “That was pretty freaky, it was just a move off a lineout and two Chrises, Cloete and Farrell, ran into each other. It was a knee to a hip.

“Both guys really struggled and Chris Cloete didn’t warm up today as No 24.

“So, yes, Chris is literally a bang to the knee and he didn’t have enough time to recover.

“We gave him until today, but unfortunately, he didn’t make it.”

Munster saw three players leave the field against Ospreys for Head Injury Assessments (HIAs) yesterday.

Scrum-halves Conor Murray and replacement Craig Casey passed theirs, and returned to the game during the second half but earlier in the contest, Andrew Conway failed his.

The Ireland wing’s head made contact with George North’s hip during an 11th-minute tackle and he left the pitch following extensive treatment, failing to return.

“He’s going to go into the international team now, so, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see on him,” van Graan said of Conway.

“Out of the game, Craig came back, Conor came back. I don’t think there was anything else serious.”

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox