Munster will welcome back full-back Matt Gallagher to team training after more than three months sidelined by injury but look likely to miss Chris Cloete for Friday’s Guinness PRO14 clash at home with Scarlets.
Johann van Graan’s side qualified for the PRO14 final last Friday night when a 20-17 derby victory over Connacht secured first place in Conference B. They will now face defending champions Leinster on Saturday, March 27, but the Thomond Park victory came at a cost with openside flanker Cloete suffering an ankle injury. The South African will undergo a scan this week, Munster said, and his availability appears to be doubtful.
Munster will also be without their international contingent with Craig Casey, Andrew Conway and Chris Farrell, all of whom started against Connacht, returning to Ireland camp ahead of this Sunday’s Six Nations Round Four game against Scotland.
Versatile back Shane Daly, though, will remain available for van Graan having been omitted from Andy Farrell’s squad at the expense of a fit-again Jacob Stockdale.
The imminent return of Gallagher also boosts Munster’s back-three options with the summer signing from Saracens having recovered from a shoulder injury sustained last November against Zebre.
Clarification on Gallagher’s comeback date may be forthcoming from the province at Tuesday’s media briefing but the Irish-qualified signing’s return to training further reduces Munster’s rehabilitation group of players following the return of Joey Carbery a fortnight ago after 13 months out with an ankle injury.
Neil Cronin (knee), Dan Goggin (hand), and RG Snyman (knee) remain sidelined as van Graan prepares to rotate his squad over the final two regular-season games starting against Scarlets ahead of both the PRO14 and the following week’s Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 home knockout tie, the draw for which was set to get underway on Tuesday from noon.