Munster supporters hoping to see Chris Farrell make a return soon will have to wait much longer as the 25-year-old’s rehab has been scaled back according to Johann van Graan, who was speaking at the launch of the Heineken Champions Cup today.
Farrell, of course, has been out of action since he damaged his ACL in a training session for Ireland during the 2018 Six Nations. Although he was immediately ruled out for the rest of the 2017/2018 season, it was hoped that Farrell could be in line for a return around the beginning of the 2018/19 Heineken Champions Cup, which is now just two weeks away.
“He’s still a long way off, he won’t be back anytime soon, he’s mentally very well, he’s working very hard off the field but in terms of returning to train with the team, he’s still a long way off,” van Graan told the media in Dublin today.
Pushed on a return date, Van Graan didn’t rule out a return by Christmas but it looks like December could be the earliest we will see the Fivemiletown man make a return in red.
“That’s [Christmas] still a long time, we won’t see him before the Champions Cup starts but hopefully before Christmas. I don’t have the exact timings, those injuries are difficult to judge.”
In terms of the reason for the longer recovery period, Van Graan revealed that Farrell’s rehabilitation has been “slowed down”.
“I won’t say setback, it’s just slow. All the clever guys, medical guys that do these things have got certain points of return and certain stages, certain players are better than others you know? You’ve got to slow down the rehab so he had a stage where he went really well and they have just had to slow down the rehab a bit.
“He’s still within the timeframe of a standardised injury but we are just taking it day by day with him. It’s such a big injury, you don’t want to put him in there too early. You can’t guarantee that it won’t happen again but you certainly don’t want to push such a big injury.”
In terms of when Munster will finally see All Black scrum-half Alby Mathewson take to the field, the head coach hopes to have news on that front within the next 24 hours and hasn’t ruled out a potential debut his weekend against Ulster, providing that the work-permit issue gets resolved before then.
“I hope to have some clarity within the next 24 hours. It might be a chance that he will be in over the weekend, certainly next weekend but once we got clarity, we’ll let you guys know.