Munster head coach, Johann van Graan, won’t be rushing players like Conor Murray and Chris Farrell straight back into action as they face into an important time on the domestic and European front.
Both Farrell and Murray were introduced at the 50-minute mark during the bonus point win over Zebre at the weekend but despite being back to full fitness, neither are guaranteed a start against Edinburgh in Irish Independent Park this Friday night while a number of returning internationals will also be managed.
“It’s a very short turnaround so we’ll assess the international guys coming back, also the guys who played over the weekend and try and make good decisions. It’s a pretty important block coming up and Friday night, they’re a very good side and they play a very specific way and as we saw in the quarter-final last year, they put you under quite a bit of pressure.”
“We’ve to find the balance between guys that have been there, look at the game time of the internationals, some guys will rest according to the national strategy, which is brilliant in terms of player welfare and then we’ll select our team accordingly.”
“Conor we’ll just manage week-to-week. Obviously, he’s been out for a long time so he might come from the bench for 30 minutes or he might start and possibly only play 50 or 60. His management is very important to us. Luckily, we have very good scrum-halves in the squad.”
It’s not just at scrum-half that Munster are enjoying more depth this season. Their squad is in a healthy position, even with a number of forwards to make their return, and that will be crucial as they plan for back-to-back fixtures against Castres in the Heineken Champions Cup before another period of inter-provincial derbies.
The ensuing selection headache is not an issue van Graan is worried about.
“I’d welcome that. We still have a lot of injuries, Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell, Jean Kleyn, Rhys Marshall in the forwards but it’s great to have a lot of backs available. It’s the first time in over a year that’s we’ve had three centres available, obviously, Dan Goggin is still to come back just it’s great to have Jaco, Rory, Chris and Sammy, that depth in the squad. All the guys can’t play the nine games but we’ll take it week-by-week and adjust our strategy accordingly.”