Johann van Graan won't take any risks with Peter O'Mahony injury

Johann van Graan is determined not to unnecessarily risk captain Peter O’Mahony this weekend despite describing Saturday’s trip to Leinster as Munster’s sole focus
Johann van Graan won't take any risks with Peter O'Mahony injury

Munster Rugby Squad Training, 10 Acres, UL, Limerick 17/5/2022. Peter O'Mahony. ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Johann van Graan is determined not to unnecessarily risk captain Peter O’Mahony this weekend despite describing Saturday’s trip to Leinster as Munster’s sole focus in their bid for a home United Rugby Championship quarter-final draw.

O’Mahony put his body on the line in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final 11 days ago, contributing a man of the match performance for 63 minutes against Toulouse before succumbing to a recurring stinger injury in his shoulder. 

That led to van Graan describing his captain as a “warrior” but his recovery is being monitored by Munster’s medical staff and the province will not make a call on his availability to face Leinster at Aviva Stadium this Saturday evening until just before they name their team on Friday lunchtime.

Full-back Mike Haley is in a similar position following a failed Head Injury Assessment in that defeat on penalty kicks to Toulouse and their head coach insisted on Tuesday that with a place in next month’s URC play-offs already assured, he would not play anyone this Saturday who was not totally fit.

International backs Damian de Allende and Simon Zebo have already been ruled out and of O’Mahony’s availability for selection, van Graan said: “That will be determined at the back end of the week.

“He’s taken a few knocks over the last few weeks. He was in training today albeit in non-contact. We’ll take our time in the week and I’m only going to play guys this week that are 100 per cent.

“Obviously in three weeks’ time, a guaranteed quarter-final, I have to look at the big picture again. Obviously we want Pete to play, but as the week goes if guys comes through training, I’m going to pick them, if not, I’m not going to risk them this weekend.

“In terms of Mike, the exact same. He trained as well today. Obviously he’s followed the return to play protocols. I guess from a team perspective Damian definitely won’t play and Simon (Zebo) definitely won’t play this weekend. I’m not even going to put them in that position. They won’t recover in time. Let’s see how guys go.

“Jack O’Sullivan is back in training, which is a real positive. Chris Cloete is back in training. Andrew Conway has had another week together with the squad. So we’ll take our time with this week and then send a team as fit as possible down to Dublin.” The South African added he was “not convinced” 

Gavin Coombes was ready to return having only returned to training on Monday following ankle surgery and Munster are still waiting on signs that Tadhg Beirne is in a position to play for the first time since sustaining a thigh injury during the Six Nations.

“All I can say about Tadhg is he’s tracking a lot better than he has the last few weeks. He’s working really hard. I don’t want to speculate on the week of a return. I’m confident with the way that it’s currently looking that we’ll see him again before the end of the season which is a real positive from our point of view.

“Now, we’ve got to see what happens in a quarter-final, after that who knows. But I don’t want to speculate on a week but he’s tracking really well.

“We were pretty worried about him but he’s turned the corner and he’s working really well with the medical team and I’m pretty confident that we’ll see him before the end of the season.”

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