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Earls back on track for comeback after illness forced him out of Leinster defeat

The Ireland winger could make his first appearance since October against Ulster.

Earls missed the defeat to Leinster through illness.
Earls missed the defeat to Leinster through illness.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

KEITH EARLS HAS recovered from the illness which ruled him out of Munster’s Guinness Pro14 inter-pro defeat to Leinster on St Stephen’s Day with the winger in line to feature against Ulster on Monday.

The Ireland international had been originally named to start against Leinster after shaking off the hamstring injury which had kept him sidelined since the start of November, but was a late withdrawal after falling ill over the weekend.

Earls was among the Munster squad which returned to training at the University of Limerick this afternoon ahead of the inter-pro derby against Ulster on New Year’s Day [KO 5.30pm].

The 30-year-old hasn’t featured since the Pro14 defeat to Connacht at the end of October but his availability would be a major fillip for Johann van Graan as the Munster head coach looks to rotate his squad.

Hooker Rhys Marshall was another late withdrawal from the starting XV to face Leinster on Tuesday after the Kiwi native presented further symptoms of concussion following the head knock he sustained in the win over Leicester Tigers at Thomond Park earlier this month.

Marshall didn’t train in UL this afternoon and will be monitored closely by the province’s medical staff as the week progresses.

Otherwise, Munster have reported a relatively clean bill of health from the 34-24 loss to Leinster with James Cronin coming through his return from a calf injury unscathed while Ronan O’Mahony and Conor Oliver today returned to full training.

There was no further update on Tyler Bleyendaal (neck), Jaco Taute (knee), Chris Farrell (knee) and Gerbrandt Grobler (ankle) who all remain long-term absentees.

Munster travel to Belfast sitting in second in Conference A of the Pro14 behind Glasgow Warriors after round 11.

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Ryan Bailey

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