Blow For Munster As Keith Earls Facing Extended Spell On The Sidelines
New Munster boss Johan van Grann took charge of the southern province for the first time this week, but hasn’t had the best of starts, with a number of concerning injuries to deal with.
Keith Earls represents the biggest blow, with the Ireland winger set to miss two months of action after tearing his hamstring while on Ireland duty earlier this month.
Loosehead James Cronin is another man expected to be out until the new year with a calf tear, while Tyler Bleyendaal and Duncan Williams will miss van Graan’s first game with Zebre on Sunday.
Tommy O’Donnell will also miss that clash, leaving the South African almost down to his bare bones with a number of Irish internationals also unavailable for the clash.
“Earlsy is going to be out, he is not going to be available for the foreseeable future,” said Munster forwards coach Jerry Flannery.
“It’ll be another seven or eight weeks anyway with his hamstring. Whether it progresses better as it gets closer I don’t know.
“I think initially it was around a two to three month injury from what I understood. I think now it’s coming in around possible around two months.
“It’s (a hamstring tear), but quite bad. It’s disappointing because Earlsy was in great form. But on the positive side it’s the one area if we were to lose a player, we have got depth there. But obviously Keith Earls is one of the best players in the world, so we don’t want to lose him. But that’s rugby.”
Munster are confident however that Williams and Bleyendall will return for the clash with Ospreys next week. JJ Hanrahan and James Hart look set to make their first start together at halfback this weekend, with Ian Keatley likely to feature from the bench for Ireland against Argentina in Joey Carbery’s absence.