The Munster squad returned to training today at the High Performance Centre in Limerick ahead of their New Year’s Day encounter with Ulster at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 5.35pm).
Keith Earls has recovered from the illness that saw him miss the 34-24 defeat to Leinster on St. Stephen’s Day. The experienced Ireland winger trained with the squad today.
Kiwi hooker Rhys Marshall, who presented with further symptoms last week following his recent concussion, did not train today and continues to be monitored.
Fellow front rower James Cronin suffered no ill-effects as he returned to action off the bench against Leinster following a calf injury. In further positive news, Ronan O’Mahony (fibula) and Conor Oliver (shoulder) have both returned to full training, while Dan Goggin (knee) has returned to field-based training.
Tyler Bleyendaal (neck), Jaco Taute (knee), Chris Farrell (knee) and Gerbrandt Grobler (ankle) are continuing to rehab their respective injuries, as Munster head coach Johann van Graan looks for his side to return to winning ways in Belfast.
Reflecting on the home loss to Leinster, the South African said: “I was very happy with the bonus point for four tries but very disappointed with the result. It’s frustrating when you go out all guns blazing and receive the kick-off and concede the penalty and you’re three points down.
“Two quality teams up against each other and Leinster were better (tonight). They’re a quality side and have some quality individuals all across the park. The positive is how we responded at half-time, we adjusted our game plan. Not good enough but, like I said, we have to learn from it.
“We’ve got quite few bumps and bruises. After a loss there always seems to be a bit more pain but nothing serious at this stage. There will be quite a number of changes (for Ulster). It’s a big block of games.”