Tuesday 12 December 2017

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Injury crisis for Munster

Wednesday, 29th November, 2017 5:22pm

He has barely been in the job a week but Munster's head coach Johann van Graan is dealing with somewhat of an injury crisis ahead of Saturday's game against Ospreys.

Although van Graan had success in his first game in charge with Munster's 36-19 win over Zebre, the game was not without casualties with Simon Zebo, Stephen Archer and James Hart all sustaining injuries.

Zebo, who was replaced in the closing minutes of the game after he jarred his knee. He underwent a scan this week to determine the full extent of the injury although it's not thought to be serious, while Hart, who was also a late withdrawal, will be reviewed by the medical team after he sustained a dead leg. Archer was treated for a laceration to his forehead and will train this week as normal.

To add to van Graan's woes, Chris Farrell, who was on international duty, sustained a knee injury in Saturday's 28-19 win over Argentina. The province confirmed: “The centre underwent a scan which confirmed a medial ligament sprain and returns to the province to follow his rehabilitation programme for the next six weeks.”

Furthermore, Tommy O'Donnell and Keith Earls both picked up inujuries while on international duty. O'Donnell is expected to partake in limited training this week as he recovers from an AC joint injury while Earls will be unavailable for another seven-eight weeks as he recovers from a torn hamstring.

Also in the injury list for Munster are Tyler Bleyendaal (neck), Ronan O’Mahony (fibula), Gerbrandt Grobler (ankle), Conor Oliver (shoulder), Dan Goggin (knee), Dave O’Callaghan (knee), Jaco Taute (knee), Niall Scannell (thumb) and James Cronin (calf) while Duncan Williams returned to training this week after recovering from a shoulder injury.

As well as injury concerns, van Graan faced speculation this week over captain Peter O'Mahony. It was reported this week in the Irish Times that O'Mahony had rejected an initial contract offer from the IRFU, a move that could see the flanker leave Munster for an English or French club if an agreement could not be reached but van Graan confirmed he would do all he can to keep O'Mahony at the club.

“I haven't spoken to Pete one on one yet, he has been offered a contract extension with some added benefits and I believe it's in the best interest of Munster Rugby and of the IRFU to keep him at Munster and in Ireland.

“Luckily, that's hopefully not a done deal (a move). He stands for so much more, he's a Munster man through and through and I'm looking forward to having that discussion with him. If I can in any way keep him at Munster and in Ireland until the World Cup and hopefully after that, I'll do everything in my power to do that,” he said at his first press conference this week.

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