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Zebo expected to miss Cardiff clash as Munster wait for injury update

The Ireland international injured his ribs in the win over Scarlets on opening weekend.

Zebo: lasted just 18 minutes on Saturday.
Zebo: lasted just 18 minutes on Saturday.
Image: Camerasport/Craig Thomas/INPHO

THE GOOD NEWS in Munster is that they moved into their new training base at UL for the first time this morning and CJ Stander will be available to them next weekend, but there is still doubts about Simon Zebo’s availability following injury.

Munster are waiting on the results of a scan on Zebo’s ribs to discover the severity of the injury that forced the Ireland international out of their Pro12 opener against Scarlets last weekend.

Zebo only lasted 18 minutes after he appeared to take a blow from his teammate Rory Scannell as the duo chased a kick through behind their own try-line and then shipped another hit in contact afterwards.

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus admitted he was not hopeful that the utility back would be available to line out for the side in their first home game of the season against Cardiff Blues next Friday, but that it would be Monday night before they got a true reflection of the injury.

“It’s his ribs. We’ll have a better indication after the scans come back, but in my experience as a player and a coach, I would be surprised if he is ready for the weekend,” said Erasmus.

Kevin O’Byrne was the only other injury concern to emerge from the win against Scarlets and he is having a scan on an elbow injury, but there was some positive news for tighthead Stephen Archer, who is only likely to miss one more game due to the neck injury he picked up ahead of the new season.

After Donnacha Ryan and Dave Kilcoyne returned to the match-day squad on Saturday from their player management programme period after Ireland’s summer tour, Stander is the latest international to make his comeback this weekend.

However, there is still no sign of Conor Murray or Keith Earls for Erasmus, while Peter O’Mahony will not make his return this weekend either following his year-long layoff due to a knee injury picked up at last year’s World Cup.

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Alex Wootton (knee) and David Johnston (ankle) were both able to take a full part in training after missing the game at the weekend, but there is no return in sight for new signing Sammy Arnold (knee), Mark Chisholm (concussion), Sean McCarthy (knee), Francis Saili (shoulder) and Mike Sherry (back), who are all long-term absentees.

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