After the culmination of the first two rounds of European club rugby in both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, attention will begin to shift to Autumn internationals which take place in November.
Ireland are up against a resurgent Springboks in the first Test of their November series on November 11 and they will be without some key players, not only for this match but for the remaining fixtures against Fiji and old foes, Argentina.
Munster Rugby confirmed today that Niall Scannell faces six weeks on the sidelines and is in a race to be fit for the southern province’s back-to-back Champions Cup clashes with the Leicester Tigers in December.
Scannell suffered a thumb injury in their draw with Castres last weekend and as a result, missed out on his side’s victory over Racing 92 at Thomond Park. He had a scan last week and it has been confirmed that the injury will require surgery.
Although Scannell would unlikely start ahead of Rory Best, his meteoric rise over the last two seasons has seen the Cork man seriously pushing for a starting spot for Ireland. It is a blow to him with regards to his Ireland ambitions and of course, for Munster.
Moving over to Munster’s neighbours, Leinster, Leo Cullen confirmed at the weekend to the 42.ie that Garry Ringrose won’t return until the end of November, meaning that he will miss out on Ireland’s November series.
Robbie Henshaw has performed well at 13 for Leinster in recent games against Montpellier and the Glasgow Warriors. With Jared Payne unlikely to feature in November too, the thirteen shirt looks to be Henshaw’s. As a result there will be serious competition for inside centre with the likes of Rory Scannell, Stuart McCloskey, Luke Marshall, Chris Farrell and newly-qualified Bundee Aki all capable of filling the void.