Munster boss Rassie Erasmus has named a 23-man squad to face Ulster on Saturday in the Guinness Pro 12 and once again there is no sign of British and Irish Lions hopefuls Conor Murray or CJ Stander in the match day side.
Murray has been out of action for over a month now, having suffered a stinger injury to his left upper arm during Ireland’s Six Nations defeat to Wales, while Stander has not featured since he hobbled off with an ankle injury during Munster’s Champions Cup quarter-final victory over Toulouse.
Now, with only four days until Warren Gatland announces his 37-man squad for the summer tour of New Zealand, the omission of the pair from the clash with Ulster could have fans wondering just how serious both injuries are and if they will return in time for the provinces Champions Cup semi-final clash with Saracens next weekend.
Munster go strong with selection for Ulster. Keatley back on bench, no sign yet of Murray or Stander. Race to be fit for next week now. pic.twitter.com/ePAgB19WJD
— Donn O'Sullivan (@DonnOSullivan) April 14, 2017
Despite naming a strong side to take on the northern province, the absence of the potential Lions starters is a blow to Rassie Erasmus, as he looks to keep the pressure on Leinster at the top of the Pro 12 table.
It is expected that Gatland will name the pair in his Lions squad on Wednesday as neither are currently at risk of missing out on the Lions tour but for Munster fans, they will want to see both returning to action ahead of the clash with reigning European champions.
The Ireland internationals are regarded as among the best in the game for their respective positions and the longer they remains absent, the greater the worry for their involvement in the business end of Munster’s title chasing season. Until they return, concerns will continue to furrow brows.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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