The Munster squad trained in Cork IT yesterday in the build-up to their opening RaboDirect PRO12 match of the season against Edinburgh on Saturday.
Head coach Rob Penney met with media after the training session and provided an update on BJ Botha who suffered a grade two medial ligament injury to his right knee last Friday night against London Irish.
The influential South African prop is expected to be sidelined for a minimum of four weeks, his absence giving some of Munster’s up-and-coming front rowers the chance to catch the eye in competitive action.
“We’re lucky that we have some good young talent coming through and it’s exciting that these younger players will get a chance to show what they’re worth,” admitted Penney.
Ivan Dineen was a late withdrawal from Friday’s squad after taking a knock to his calf. He has returned to full training along with Keith Earls, who took part in full contact training following on from his recovery from a shoulder injury.
New signing Andrew Conway, who sustained a dead leg against Gloucester, will continue his recovery for the remainder of the week while James Downey continues to rehab his quad tear. Both players will not be available for Saturday’s encounter.
Felix Jones (shoulder) and Luke O’Dea (wrist) are continuing with their rehabilitation and Lions players Conor Murray, Paul O’Connell and Simon Zebo have advanced their own pre-season programmes.
Penney also indicated that a number of returning internationals should be available for consideration this week.
Munster take on Edinburgh in round one of the RaboDirect PRO12 on Saturday night at Musgrave Park (kick-off 7.15pm). Tickets are available to buy online here or from the ticket offices in Musgrave Park and Thomond Park.
Speaking ahead of the game, Penney added: “We play them (Edinburgh) four times this season between the league and the Heineken Cup so it’s important we start strongly.
“We learned a lot last season and believe we have a squad that has the depth to be competitive.
“We’ve lost some irreplaceable players like Ronan O’Gara but we have strengthened in areas too and the competition for places will be tough.
“This is an opportunity for guys to take their chance in these early games and I’m looking forward to seeing how the guys go.”