Munster will have to wait until Tuesday to discover if key players, Joey Carbery and Chris Farrell, will be fit to face Castres Olympique in France next weekend.
Carbery was ruled out prior to today’s battle in Thomond Park due to tightness in his hamstring while Chris Farrell, who has been in top form since his return to play, sustained an injury in the warm-up.
Head coach, Johann van Graan admitted that he is unsure if either player will make the return fixture next Saturday.
“Joey made a call at the latest possible hour, he had a very tight hamstring and we didn’t want to risk that. Chris is a little more difficult to say because it literally happened in the warm-up so we’ll give it over to our medical team.”
“It’s going to be a quick turnaround, we’re playing on Saturday. So we’ll reassess them on Monday morning, which is tomorrow morning, and then hope to have more info on Tuesday. “
Their absence made little impact on the outcome of the game. Despite a sloppy and disjointed performance in the first half, Munster recovered to score three tries in the 20-5 win over the Top 14 champions this afternoon, courtesy of Rory Scannell, CJ Stander and JJ Hanrahan.
The man-of-the-match award was given to Carbery’s replacement, Hanrahan, who finished the game with 20 points to his name. Van Graan was quick to praise the Kerryman for his performance, given his late call-up.
“I’m very happy with his game management. We said all week that if you play too much rugby in your own half, you’re going to get punished. I thought he varied his play very well. Conor [Murray] and him, together with Mikey [Mike Haley] and Rory [Scannell], our main decisions makers, played us in the right areas of the field.”
“I thought our scrum went pretty well to put pressure on them and also our lineout contesting, they didn’t get any scrum or lineout base until late in the game and that went a long way to us winning the game.”
“It’s not ideal but that’s why you have a squad and our squad depth got tested today, both at 10 and 13. I’m glad that JJ stepped up so well, and Sammy and Jaco got straight into the team. All credit to our mindset, it doesn’t matter who gets picked, we’ve just got to adapt and I’m very happy with that.”
Munster remain at the top of Pool 2, despite failing to secure the bonus-point, while Gloucester sit in second place, three points behind the province following their eight-point win over Exeter in Sandy Park yesterday. The South African was keen to stress that Munster cannot get complacent at the half-way mark.
“If you set at the start of the competition that we’d be sitting top of the Pool, obviously you’d take it. I thought the Gloucester Exeter game was a very good game of rugby and fair play to Gloucester for winning at Sandy Park and that will also be an interesting return match but all our focus is on us. It’s only half-time if I can call it that, in the Pool competition, there’s three more games to go.”
“We said as a team, you enjoy every win in Europe but tomorrow morning, we’ll put it behind us. A massive test awaits us in these double-header returns and you don’t just go to the champions of France in their backyard and get anything for free. We’ll have to reassess, see what we did well and build on that, improve on what we didn’t and next Saturday evening will be a big game in Castres.”