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Munster will 'plan and adapt' around Ireland's mini-tour to South Africa
The Irish provinces may be without a big group of players early on in the URC season.

MUNSTER SAY THEY are happy to “plan and adapt” if Ireland confirm their expected mini-tour to South Africa next month.

It is expected that Andy Farrell’s Ireland will bring a squad of over 30 fringe players and youngsters on a short three-game trip to South Africa at the end of September and start of October.

They are set to play three uncapped games against the Cheetahs, Pumas, and Griquas over a period of 10 to 12 days.

Those fixtures would clash directly with the new URC season and could result in players being unavailable to their provinces for three or even four rounds of the league.

It would be an obvious disruption to plans, although the possible return to availability of Ireland internationals during that period would soften any blow.

Munster attack coach Mike Prendergast said that if Ireland’s tour is confirmed, the southern province are happy to work around it.

“There’s challenges being thrown at us over the last number of years with Covid and everything,” said Prendergast. “We just have to react and literally play what’s in front of us.

“I don’t think it has been fully confirmed about the tour. If it does, absolutely we will look and we will plan and adapt.

“That’s one of the reasons we brought big numbers in at the start [of pre-season] because certain things will happen during the year and we have to be prepared, both from the long and medium-term and even to the short-term.

“Look, obviously Andy and the IRFU have their plan. They’re obviously trying to add layers towards the World Cup and that’s understandable. We will adapt to it, absolutely we will.”

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Meanwhile, Munster confirmed that Ireland international back row Gavin Coombes is currently sidelined with a groin injury.

The province say he will miss “the opening rounds of the URC” but it’s unclear whether the injury would also keep him out of possible involvement in Ireland’s tour to South Africa.

Jack O’Sullivan is going through the return-to-play protocols after suffering a head injury in last Friday’s pre-season clash with Gloucester, while 18-year-old back row Ruadhán Quinn is also undergoing the protocols having “presented with symptoms of a possible head injury” over the weekend following his involvement in the same game.

Andrew Conway, RG Snyman, and Jack Daly all remain on the injury list as they recover from knee injuries.

Munster play London Irish in their second pre-season game at Musgrave Park this Friday.

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