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Carty a doubt as Connacht and Munster push on with prep for inter-pro

Both provinces have high player availability but will undergo further testing later this week.

Jack Carty is rehabbing a foot injury.
Jack Carty is rehabbing a foot injury.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

JACK CARTY HAS emerged as a doubt for Connacht’s clash with Munster on New Year’s Day due to a foot injury.

The in-form out-half will hope to recover in time for the meeting this Saturday in Galway [KO 5.15pm, TG4/URC TV] as Connacht continue to work on Carty’s foot issue, which he sustained against Leicester two weekends ago.

The inter-provincial United Rugby Championship clash is set to go ahead at the Sportsground this weekend, with Connacht and Munster reporting today that their senior squads are in good places in terms of player availability.

Both provinces will undergo further Covid testing this week but the high numbers of senior players fit and available mean there is strong optimism over the fixture going ahead.

Munster’s scheduled clash with Leinster on St Stephen’s Day was postponed due to the Covid outbreak in Leinster’s squad, while Connacht’s planned game against Ulster the same day was also postponed due to a Covid cluster in the Ulster squad.

As they get set to return to action on Saturday, Connacht are hoping that the talismanic Carty can complete the rehabilitation of his foot injury in time to feature.

“We’re still looking at him,” said head coach Andy Friend this afternoon. “He ran today and he ran well. We’ll need to see how he pulls up tomorrow with that one but the form he’s in at the moment, you’d love to have him involved.”

Connacht have been boosted by the returns of Paul Boyle [shoulder/achilles], Mack Hansen [calf], and Ben O’Donnell [illness] to team training this week.

The western province will definitely be without Caolin Blade, Sean Masterson, and Oran McNulty – who are all sidelined through illness – while centre Peter Robb picked up a shoulder injury at training last week and will be sidelined until the end of January.

Hooker Dylan Tierney Martin faces four months out of the game after undergoing hamstring surgery.

More positively, loosehead prop Denis Buckley continues to make progress with his recovery from a long-term ACL injury and has now started to integrate into training. He hopes to be available for selection over the next month.

Centre Tom Daly [knee] and lock Gavin Thornbury [shoulder] are also making good progress with their rehab and are targeting a return to team training over the next month.

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Meanwhile, Munster essentially have a full deck to choose from for the weekend with their squad Covid-free at present.

Joey Carbery [elbow], Calvin Nash [ankle], Rowan Osborne [head], and RG Snyman [knee] are the only senior players out injured as things stand.

“We’re good at the moment,” said Munster senior coach Stephen Larkham this afternoon.

“It might be a blessing in disguise that we’ve had a number of [Covid] cases coming back from South Africa and hopefully that makes them a little bit more immune now.

“We saw on the weekend that only one [URC] game went ahead so the other teams are now getting affected by it but hopefully we’ve had our little run and can push forward. 

“We’ve got enough guys who have had the virus now that we can probably field a team every single week going forward.”

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Murray Kinsella

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