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Munster Sweat On JJ Hanrahan Injury As Europe Looms

JJ Hanrahan

Seán McMahon reporting from Thomond Park. 

Munster are facing into a potential out-half crisis with European rugby on the horizon after JJ Hanrahan was removed after the half-hour mark in Munster’s 22-16 win over Ulster in Limerick on Saturday night. 

Munster head coach Johann van Graan confirmed during his post-match press conference that Hanrahan was removed with what looks to be a hamstring injury.

“It looks like a hammy,” van Graan said.

“Straight away after that late hit our doctor said he had to come off. We will scan the hamstring on Monday and know more then. Obviously it is a big concern for us with Joey [Carbery] out as well.”

With Carbery not expected to be back in action until mid-December at the earliest, this puts significant pressure on the southern province as they begin their Heineken Champions Cup campaign with games against the Ospreys and Racing 92 over the next two weekends.

JJ Hanrahan

The only other available senior out-half is Tyler Bleyendaal and he will be the last man standing if Hanrahan is deemed unavailable.

The next man in line would be Academy out-half Ben Healy who starred for the Ireland U20s this year.

Van Graan said that Healy could be included in Munster’s European squad but he also revealed that he may rely on the versatility of other players that he has available to him.

“Possibly [add another player to European squad]. Rory Scannell can cover 10 as well. He has played at 10 for Munster before. He is a very good goal kicker.

JJ Hanrahan

“The next option is Ben Healy [the Ireland under-20s outhalf] which would be exciting if we need to swap in. That’s currently our options. Worst-case scenario we have a few nines who can play 10 before, like
Neil Cronin.”

Munster will likely provide an update on Hanrahan’s fitness on Tuesday when the southern province host a media day ahead of their clash with Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Elsewhere, van Graan revealed that a few of Munster’s Ireland internationals are suffering knocks – most notably Tadhg Beirne and Dave Kilcoyne.

“Earlsy [Keith Earls] ran pretty well outside in the warm-up. Tadhg [Beirne] we are managing, he might be back next week. Dave [Kilcoyne] got injured in Thursday’s training session.

“So, we’ll reassess him on Monday. He was actually going to start but got injured in a scrum. We’ll take our time with him and give feedback once we know a bit more.”

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email seanmc@punditarena.com or on Twitter