©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Looking good: Howlett 'ahead of schedule' for Munster return

The southern province expect the legendary wing to be involved in Rob Penney’s pre-season plans, and Paul O’Connell isn’t far behind.

MUNSTER SEEM TO be finally reaching some respite from the incessant injury trouble which dogged them for the past year.

The province released a fitness update of no fewer than 10 players this morning; chief amongst them, Doug Howlett.

New Zealand’s record try-scorer has been sidelined since December when he damaged his Achilles in the loss to the Ospreys in Wales.

The province say that Howlett is “ahead of schedule in his rehab and is expected to feature in Munster’s pre-season match programme.”

Johne Murphy, Damien Varley (both ankle), Dave Foley (shoulder) and Duncan Williams (hip) are also in line to feature in Munster’s warm-up fixtures against Bristol and London Irish in mid-August.


Those games will come too soon for captain Paul O’Connell. The lock missed out on the tour to New Zealand with a knee injury and is due to return to full training shortly before the season begins in September.

O’Connell’s apprentice in the second row, Ian Nagle, has been pencilled in for a return to action ‘at the end of the autumn’ so could find himself in RaboDirect Pro12 contention when the Heineken Cup beckons the front-liners.

Backs Felix Jones (shoulder) and, Irish qualified, Troy Nathan face a similar delay to their return.

Off the field: Niall O’Donovan officially began his role as team manager this week with the coaching staff of Anthony Foley, Ian Costello, Paul McCarthy and Bryce Kavanagh missing only one ingredient.

Head coach Penney will arrive in Ireland in 10 days’ time. A week before the international playing contingent return to the grindstone on July 23.

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