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Munster may look for short-term cover as injuries mount in backline

The southern province have seen three midfield options sidelined in the last month.

Munster head coach Anthony Foley may have to draft in backline cover.
Munster head coach Anthony Foley may have to draft in backline cover.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

MUNSTER MAY BE forced to draft in short-term cover in their backline after the latest injury blow at the province.

News that Keith Earls will be sidelined for three to four months compounds the long-term knee injury for Cian Bohane and the uncertainty surrounding the arrival of New Zealander Tyler Bleyendaal.

The Canterbury man looked set to be used at inside centre and as out-half cover upon joining Munster after the ITM Cup, but suffered a serious neck injury and underwent surgery on the problem this month. His return will not come until 2015, with a definitive date remaining unconfirmed.

It was hoped that 23-year-old Bohane would make a strong push for Munster’s 12 shirt this season, before his ACL tear in the pre-season clash with London Irish saw him ruled out for six to nine months.

Earls’ absence means head coach Anthony Foley is down another potential centre and leaves him with senior players Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley, Ivan Dineen to choose from in midfield.

TheScore.ie understands that the province have already enquired about the availability of centres from at least one club, and that a loan deal is something they have explored.

Tyler Bleyendaal on the attack Tyler Bleyendaal's arrival has been delayed. Source: Photosport/Chris Symes/INPHO

Moving JJ Hanrahan or Ian Keatley to 12 is a further option, one which Foley and attack coach Brian Walsh have both confirmed they are open to.

Dan Goggin and and Rory Scannell provide promise in the province’s academy, but it remains to be seen if Foley feels the pair of Ireland U20 internationals are ready to step into the Guinness Pro12.

“We’re down an international-quality three quarters [Earls], so we need to look at that – look at what we have, look at what we have in our academy, what’s coming through, and maybe seeing what’s out there, seeing if there are any short-term contracts out there,” said Foley in Limerick this afternoon.

“That’s something that we have to look at from a squad perspective and make sure we have strength to compete at the top end of the table.

“I think, at the moment, we’re pretty good. We’ve a lot of good players in those areas, we definitely will be looking in the background with stuff that we can do to manage that.”

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Murray Kinsella

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