Tadhg Beirne, Keith Earls, and John Ryan will return to training in Limerick this week as Munster begin their final four-week build-up to their Guinness PRO14 derby clash with Leinster.
The 2019-20 season will restart at the Aviva Stadium on August 22 with Johann van Graan’s squad facing unbeaten league leaders Leinster in Dublin in their first game since the campaign was shut down due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Players and coaching staff returned to the High Performance Centre at the University of Limerick on Monday for a second round of PCR testing following a week off midway through their preparations for the resumption, which began on June 22.
While new signing Damian de Allende (groin), Dave Kilcoyne (calf), or Gavin Coombes (illness) are not due to return to training for at least another week, the positive news was about an Irish international trio of Beirne, Earls, and Ryan who will all rejoin the wider squad on Tuesday following injuries.
Back-row/lock Beirne has completed his rehabilitation from a fractured ankle sustained against Saracens in Europe last December, while tighthead prop Ryan underwent a minor shoulder operation during the suspension of the season and wing Earls will return from a calf problem.
Speaking two weeks ago, Van Graan said soft-tissue injuries were to be expected after such a long lay-off and there has duly been a spate of thigh injuries reported in Monday’s squad update with locks Fineen Wycherley and Jean Kleyn, and loosehead prop Jeremy Loughman, all now undergoing rehab.
In the backline, wing Calvin Nash was set to undergo a scan on a wrist injury on Monday, while centre Dan Goggin has had ankle surgery, joining fly-half Joey Carbery (wrist/ankle) and full-back Mike Haley (calf) on the injury list.
Carbery, so far, is the only player definitely ruled out of the opening weekend clash against his old province with Van Graan not expecting the Ireland star back until “sometime in September”.