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Carbery 'fine' to face Ulster but concern for Munster over Hanrahan and O'Donnell

The southern province will look to return to winning ways when they travel to Kingspan Stadium this weekend.

joey-carbery-is-tackled-by-andrew-porter Munster's Joey Carbery is tackled by Leinster's Andrew Porter. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

JOEY CARBERY CAME through his first game of the season for Munster on Saturday without any issues and is expected to chalk up more game-time on Friday evening in Belfast when they take on Ulster.

Carbery, out since the World Cup with a troublesome ankle injury, came on in the second-half of the 13-6 loss to Leinster at the weekend. With JJ Hanrahan now struggling with a hamstring problem, it’s expected he will feature at Kingspan Stadium.

Forwards coach Graham Rowntree said that it was a big boost to have Carbery available as they head into a key part of the season.

“As far as I know he is fine. It is good to see him on the field. He is a class operator. It is good to have him back,” said Rowntree, speaking today at Munster’s weekly press briefing in Limerick.

“He is crucial. He got some game-time under his belt, he’s been out for a long time. You can see his frustration. But he has slid straight back in and is training well. As far as I know he will be fine for Friday.”

Munster are trying to prevent a second loss in a row as they prepare for their showdown with Racing 92 in Paris on Saturday week, but Rowntree said their primary focus is on Ulster.

The former England prop knows from his own playing days with Leicester Tigers how tough it can be going to Ravenhill and he’s expecting nothing less this week.

“I had a horrible experience there in the European Cup, I would say 15 years ago, with my old club Leicester in the back-to-back European games.

graham-rowntree Graham Rowntree speaking to the media in Limerick today. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“We played into the wind in the first half. We were 33-0 down at half-time, and the wind changed for the second half, which was nice. But it is another one of these historic grounds isn’t it, Ravenhill? It has been developed.

“For me as a player, I often convey this to our boys, nights like that away from home are why you play the game. Those experiences, that is what you pass onto your kids when you are telling stories. We are ready for it. We have prepped well so far.

“We have reviewed well since Saturday night’s disappointment because you have got to roll on and move onto the next game. So we will see,” he added.

Munster head coach Johaan van Graan is sweating on the fitness of a few players after the clash with Leinster.

Hanrahan and Tommy O’Donnell are undergoing scans for hamstring injuries but prop Dave Klicoyne (quad) and flanker Chris Cloete (forearm bruising) are both available, while Gavin Coombes has returned to training after suffering a head injury against Connacht.

Hooker Kevin O’Byrne required a scan for an ankle injury and will commence rehab, while Tadhg Beirne is to undergo surgery on an ankle injury later this week and a date for his return has not been set.

He suffered the injury away to Saracens in the Heineken Champions Cup, while John Ryan — who picked up a calf problem in the same game — is returning to training this week.

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John Fallon

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