Friend must also plan without back rower Paul Boyle but is boosted by former Irish U-20s, prop Jack Aungier and lock Oisín Dowling, penning two-year contract extensions.
Connacht coach Andy Friend expects Munster to turn their Covid nightmare into a barnstorming performance against Wasps in Coventry on Sunday, even though they will be missing so many players.
The Covid outbreak on their ill-fated trip to South Africa has left Munster heading to the Coventry Building Society Arena with a side composed of seasoned internationals and academy and AIL players. But Friend said that Munster, of all sides, are capable of turning this adversity into a tangible performance and defy the odds.
They are a very proud rugby province and team and none of us like to have our back up against the wall,” said Friend.
“But when you do, sometimes you say ‘righto, let’s show the world’ so I would be very surprised if we don’t get a really good performance out of Munster.”
The Connacht coach said that he also had massive sympathy for Scarlets, who have forfeited their Champions Cup clash against Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears with 32 players in quarantine after their United Rugby Championship trip to South Africa.
“I feel for the Scarlets. They didn’t want to be in the position that they are in, but they are in it. Unfortunately, during this whole Covid period you are going to get situations like that. It’s not their fault either, it’s one of the fallouts and one of the victims of Covid.”