With just one week remaining until Munster face Saracens in a Champions Cup semi-final, Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus still has a number of injury concerns.
The province took on Ulster in the Pro 12 on Saturday afternoon and while a tight 22-20 secured a semi-final berth, it came at a cost – as Rory Scannell is now a serious doubt for the match next weekend having come off in Saturday’s match with an ankle injury.
If that wasn’t bad enough news for Munster, scrum-half Conor Murray is also facing a major race against time in order to be fit enough to face Sarries in Dublin.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Erasmus sounded pessimistic that either Murray or Scannell would be fit enough to play in the European fixture next weekend:
Rory Scannell ankle. “It would be a big worry,” said Erasmus and: “Conor Murray would be a big doubt for next week.”
— Gavin Cummiskey (@Cumoski) April 15, 2017
However, in more positive news for Munster, it looks as though CJ Stander is winning his own race to be fit. The flanker came off in the quarter-final against Toulouse earlier this month and while his absence against Ulster was effectively seen as him being ruled out against Saracens, the man himself is optimistic of his chances of being fit for the semi-final:
CJ Stander interviewed in Thomond Park and says he’s looking good for next weekend against Saracens. #Munster
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) April 15, 2017
Despite dropping out of the starting lineup late on for Saturday’s match, Duncan Williams and Tyler Bleyendaal should both be fine for next week. The pair were initially named in Erasmus’ starting fifteen but a hamstring injury and after-effects of concussion respectively meant they had to be replaced late on by Angus Lloyd and Ian Keatley.
Nonetheless, both should be fine for the Aviva showdown – in fact, Bleyendaal even came off the bench as if to prove his readiness further.
Murray will be given every chance of making the match next week but Erasmus’ pessimism doesn’t bode well for the Irish international.
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