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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 14 April 2021
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Munster left bruised after brush with Leinster

Joey Carbery’s return was a rare positive on the fitness front in Johann van Graan’s ranks.

JOHANN VAN GRAAN was left cursing his luck after the 6-13 loss to Leinster on Saturday.

On one hand, there was the sight of his side falling just short of scraping a second draw from the jaws of defeat at Thomond Park this season. On the other, he must have been keeping a body count ahead of Friday’s trip to face Ulster.

Though Joey Carbery was a welcome return – with a classy cameo that unfortunately was not enough to swing the game his side’s way – the comeback came a few minutes earlier than Van Graan had hoped, his hand forced by a hamstring niggle for JJ Hanrahan.

Add in knocks for Tommy O’Donnell, Dave Kilcoyne, Chris Cloete and Kevin O’Byrne and the South African faces extra complications on top of a six-day turnaround in a period when so many big names are under rest diktat.

“And then a lot of the guys who came off the field that finished (against Leinster) have a few bangs and bruises,” said the head coach, “we have a few games coming up, so a lot of guys have had a lot of minutes, so we also have to manage them, so a tricky situation but that is rugby.

joey-carbery-dejected-after-the-game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It’s Week 11 coming up in this 13 Week block. So, get the emotion from this one out of the way, recover and then start again on Monday.”

Today will see some of the more recognisable faces return to the ranks, but for many the focus will be trained on Paris rather than Belfast.

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“The guys who have had two weeks off will be back on Monday. Obviously, a few played against Connacht, so they will only be back against Racing,” said Van Graan.

“Unfortunately, it looks like we will have more guys out than we will have back which in certain positions is key.

“But we will take our time until Monday then reassess and take it from there.”

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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