Flanker Niall Ronan, who injured his knee during the first half of Munster’s league win over Benetton Treviso, has been included in the province’s squad for the Heineken Cup round 5 match against Castres Olympique.
Although Niall Ronan has not participated in field training this week, the Munster management are confident that he will be involved in Saturday’s encounter at Thomond Park (kick-off 3.40pm).
Meanwhile, hooker Mike Sherry has returned to training this week having been out of action since early October when he injured an ankle playing for Garryowen.
He had his first full contact session on Tuesday when the squad assembled in Cork ahead of the clash with Castres Olympique, although he has not been named in the provisional panel.
Paddy Butler, who injured a shoulder during Shannon’s Ulster Bank League game with Blackrock College, has had a scan to determine the extent of the damage.
Tommy O’Donnell (knee) and Tom Gleeson (shoulder) already know their fate after sustaining injuries in the recent defeat to Ulster.
O’Donnell will be out for up to six weeks and in Gleeson’s case, it looks like nearer to ten before he will able to resume full training.
Denis Leamy will have an operation next week on the injured hip that will keep him out for up to four months or effectively, as with Doug Howlett and Darragh Hurley, the rest of the season.
However, on a brighter note, Felix Jones, Troy Smith, Jerry Flannery and David Wallace all continue to progress along expected lines with a return to training anticipated sometime in February.
MUNSTER Squad (v Castres Olympique) – Backs (12): Tomas O’Leary, Conor Murray, Duncan Williams, Ronan O’Gara, Ian Keatley, Danny Barnes, Simon Zebo, Will Chambers, Lifeimi Mafi, Keith Earls, Johne Murphy, Denis Hurley.
Forwards (16): Marcus Horan, John Ryan, Wian du Preez, Stephen Archer, BJ Botha, Damien Varley, Denis Fogarty, Donncha O’Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan, Paul O’Connell, Ian Nagle, Mick O’Driscoll, Peter O’Mahony, Billy Holland, Niall Ronan, James Coughlan.