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Carbery poised to return for Munster if he can sustain progress through Christmas week

The out-half has not played for his province this season due to the ankle injury sustained on international duty.

Carbery in training earlier this month.
Carbery in training earlier this month.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

JOHANN VAN GRAAN is hopeful that Joey Carbery will play his first game for Munster this season when they take on Leinster at Thomond Park on Saturday (18.00, eir Sport).

But he stressed that Carbery would have a battle on his hands after JJ Hanrahan produced a top class display in the win over Connacht, running the show at out-half and kicking five from five to steer them to a 14-19 victory.

Carbery is almost ready after recovery from a troublesome ankle injury and van Graan said he may be back next weekend.

“It’s possible. A few things still need to go right. He did a bit of training with us on Thursday and obviously he’ll go to the stocktake of the national team and then we won’t train again after Monday until Thursday.

“So, we’ll see him back on Thursday and then we’ll make a decision on his availability.

“Like I said, I’m not going to put him on the field if he’s not 100% right so we’ll make that call if the call is in our hands on Thursday. What I mean by that is if he keeps improving day in, day out.

“From an excitement point of view, I think everybody in the group is looking forward to Joey coming back and I think JJ’s done really well — I think he had an excellent game out there (against Connacht).

“The one thing that Joey knows is he’ll have to fight his way back into the team, possibly from the bench. He can also full-back, so there’s a few options available for us. If and when he becomes available, I really looking to get him back into this team.

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“His goal-kicking was 100% again tonight and as an individual and also in a leadership position, the way that the managed the game. In those conditions, it’s not the kind of place where you can open up, you’ve got to keep it tight and I thought he did excellently,” said van Graan.

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John Fallon

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