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Earls and Scannell nearing Munster return but Conway and Marshall doubts for Leicester

The Munster squad trained at UL today ahead of Sunday’s return fixture.

Johann van Graan and Keith Earls during Munster training at UL today.
Johann van Graan and Keith Earls during Munster training at UL today.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

BOTH KEITH EARLS and Niall Scannell will return to full Munster squad training this week, but Johann van Graan says it’s too early to say if either will be involved in Sunday’s Champions Cup clash with Leicester Tigers.

Earls has been sidelined for the last five weeks with a hamstring injury he sustained in Ireland camp ahead of the opening November international against South Africa, while hooker Scannell underwent thumb surgery after the draw with Castres in October.

If deemed not fit enough for the reverse fixture against the Tigers at Welford Road, the pair could return to action when Munster A face Bedford Blues in the British and Irish Cup on Saturday afternoon.

“We’ll see how they go today and we’ll reassess how they’re going later in the week,” van Graan said earlier.

“They might be in the 23 or they might play in the A team game or they might not play. I don’t want to speculate at this stage.”

There is no real update on Andrew Conway and Rhys Marshall, who are both following the return to play protocols after sustaining head knocks in the bonus-point win over the Tigers last Saturday. At this stage, they must be considered doubtful.

Ian Keatley, meanwhile, sat out training at University of Limerick this afternoon as he nurses a knee knock but the out-half is expected to recover in time for the round four game.

Conor Murray and Simon Zebo also missed today’s session as the southern province manage bodies, while James Cronin will gradually reintegrate into training over the coming days following his latest injury setback playing for the Barbarians last month.

“At least there’s a few guys coming back,” van Graan added.

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