MUNSTER HEAD COACH Johann van Graan is hopeful that Niall Scannell will be fit for Ireland’s November Test schedule, but feels the hooker may be sidelined for the next two weeks.
The 26-year-old, who started both of Ireland’s wins over Australia in June, picked up an ankle injury in training last week and missed out on Munster’s Heineken Champions Cup pool win over Gloucester on Saturday.
Post-match on Saturday afternoon, Van Graan admitted uncertainty over his hooker’s return date, with next weekend’s Pro14 clash with Glasgow all but ruled out.
“I don’t think it’s a six-to-eight week injury but it does take time to settle,” said the head coach.
“We kind of gave him time, until Thursday, to have a look at it and I thought another week or two (was needed), I’ll get an update from the medical team on Monday.”
Ireland face Italy in Chicago on 3 November to kick off the international period, with big home challenges against Argentina and New Zealand to come on the following Saturdays.
“Look the Injury doesn’t seem to be too serious,” added Van Graan, “he has been playing brilliant rugby. I know that they have Test rugby coming up in two weekends time, so I don’t see why, if Joe wanted to select him, why he wouldn’t select him now. Like I said, that is Joe’s choice.”
Scannell’s knock is part of a punishing list of injuries picked up in this European block for Munster. Keith Earls pulled out in the warm-up in Exeter and Saturday brought a treble injury blow with Tommy O’Donnell, Rhys Marshall and Dan Goggin facing stints on the sidelines.
“We’re pretty thin there (at hooker) at this stage. Luckily we’ve got Mike Sherry as well, he should be raring to go.
“At centre, Jaco (Taute) took a blow to his other knee which is a bone bruising which is taking a bit longer than we anticipated. Chris Farrell is not back yet. Now, Goggin being injured… luckily we’re not the only club struggling with that.
“All the injuries seem pretty big, there’s not a lot of soft tissue. Sometimes when you get soft tissue you can adapt your training but it’s all big trauma injuries.”
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