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'I could see the disappointment on his face' - Munster concerns for Irish centre Farrell

The imposing centre is waiting on the results of scans on his right knee.

MUNSTER ARE WAITING on the results of scans on Chris Farrell’s right knee after the imposing centre suffered an injury against Connacht last weekend.

The injury is highly likely to keep Farrell out of Friday’s Heineken Champions Cup clash with Gloucester and Munster are hoping the prognosis is not another lengthy spell on the sidelines for the 25-year-old.

Chris Farrell and Cian Kelleher Farrell was injured in the final minute against Connacht. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Farrell joined Munster in 2017 but has endured a tough time with injuries in the past two seasons.

He tore the ACL in his left knee during the 2018 Six Nations, soon after he had been named man of the match on his first start in the competition for Ireland.

Farrell made his comeback from that long-term injury in November but then had to deal with a frustrating thigh issue before once again returning to the Munster team in last weekend’s clash with Connacht.

The former Grenoble midfielder completed the game but injured his right knee in the final minute of the contest, hobbling off at the full-time whistle.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will also be keen for an update on Farrell’s scan, with the Six Nations less than a month away.

“Chris Farrell is the big one for us,” said Munster head coach Johann van Graan yesterday when asked for an injury update ahead of the meeting with Gloucester in Kingsholm on Friday.

“He went for a scan on his other knee. He literally got injured with the last play of the game and when the final whistle went I had a look at him and I could see the disappointment on his face.

“So we don’t know anything yet. We’ll see what the scan reveals.”

Out-half JJ Hanrahan is another Munster player who will be missing on Friday, with a hip complaint potentially ruling the Kerryman out for a number of weeks.

JJ Hanrahan Hanrahan is struggling with a hip issue. Source: Laszlo Gezco/INPHO

“JJ has got a bit of pain in his hip and he’s gone to see a specialist so it looks like he’ll be out as well,” said van Graan. “So we’ve got one or two concerns with our backs and then just the usual bumps and bruises.”

Captain Peter O’Mahony is expected to be fit for the Gloucester clash after being among those to sustain knocks in Galway last weekend, while Keith Earls and Dan Goggin are also in line to feature.

Openside flanker Chris Cloete is back in team training this week following a neck injury against Leinster two weekends ago, while hooker Rhys Marshall is back in full training and available for selection.

Tighthead prop John Ryan came through the HIA process after being removed as a precaution against Connacht and is set to be involved against a Gloucester set-up featuring a number of faces familiar to van Graan.

Head coach Johan Ackermann spent four years in charge of the Lions in South Africa, meaning van Graan dealt with him regularly in his previous role as Springboks assistant coach.

Lock Franco Mostert has been an important addition to Gloucester from the Lions and van Graan rates him highly from their time together with the Boks, calling Mostert “one of the hardest workers that I’ve ever coached – he doesn’t know how to stop or to give up.”

Mostert could team up with former Munster second row Gerbrandt Grobler in the second row, with van Graan underlining the “kick-off abilities, lineout abilities and ball-carrying abilities” of the man he calls ‘GG’.

Whatever about Gloucester’s qualities – they are hopeful of having key man Danny Cipriani back from a chest injury that has kept him sidelined for their last three games – van Graan believes his players are well primed for another big European contest.

Gerbrandt Grobler leaves the field after the game Grobler is set to face Munster again. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“There’s no lack of motivation or excitement for this week,” said van Graan. “I think the key from the coaching point of view is to actually hold them back and not to waste unnecessary energy before we take the field on Friday night.

“I’ve never been to that stadium [Kingsholm] before but what I’ve read and what I’ve heard, it’s an incredible place, it’s a sell-out and it’s Munster versus Gloucester. There’s so much history between the clubs so it will be a fantastic rugby occasion on Friday night.

“That’s why I came to the Northern Hemisphere, for days like Friday evening. You’ve got the best players in both leagues that are going to go for each other and the winner over the next two weeks between the four teams, there’s a quarter-final spot available so we have to look forward to it.”

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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