Munster have reconvened in their High-Performance Centre at the University Of Limerick today as preparations begin for their mammoth Champions semi-final clash with Racing 92 in Bordeaux on Sunday.
Johann van Graan’s side go into this week full of confidence after securing back-to-back wins over the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs over the last two weeks during their two-week tour of South Africa.
Munster are no strangers to Racing 92, this is the second season in a row that the southern province have been paired together with the Parisian outfit in the pool stages.
This season, it’s 1-1 between the two sides after Munster beat Racing at Thomond Park and Racing tasted victory in the return fixture at the U-Arena.
Van Graan has said that Munster needed to be at their best to beat Toulon in the quarter-final but you get a sense that they will need to find some aspect of their performance to improve if they are to get into the final of this competition for the first time since 2008.
At least, they received some positive injury news today and van Graan told Pundit Arena that Keith Earls is expected to take part in training tomorrow (Tuesday). Earls has been missing since he picked up a knee injury against England at Twickenham on the final day of the Six Nations. Jack O’Donoghue, who injured his ankle on tour, will also train tomorrow while news on Dan Goggin’s injury should become clearer later this afternoon.
“Dan Goggin is being scanned this morning, so we’ll hopefully know a bit more later today,” van Graan said.
“Earlsie will be back on the field tomorrow, I’m looking forward to seeing how he has recovered since his injury. Jack O’Donoghue will also be on the field later in the week. We’ll just take it day by day, give guys as much time as we can to make the right decisions to select a team that is all ready to go for Sunday.”
Speaking further on Earls potential availability, van Graan elaborated:
“[It would be a] massive boost, he’s part and parcel of this team, he brings in so much experience, he’s been on fire all year once he’s on the field. He’s looking forward to the week and hopefully, he can get through training. He gives a lot of guys around him confidence so it would be great to have him if he’s ready to go.”
Meanwhile, James Hart is following his return-to-play protocols, James Cronin is expected to train fully this week and Duncan Williams is due an update from a specialist after his facial injury has recovered sooner than expected.