The Munster squad gathered in their High Performance Centre today to continue preparations for next Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 semi-final showdown with Champions Cup winners Leinster at the RDS (kick-off 3.15pm).
Following the semi-final qualifier win over Edinburgh at Thomond Park, Munster’s medical department confirmed that Stephen Archer sustained a pec muscle injury, with the tighthead prop requiring surgery last week, ruling him out of this weekend’s derby clash.
Andrew Conway, who sustained a concussion in the same game, continues to follow the return-to-play protocols, as does scrum half Duncan Williams who sustained a concussion against Ulster in the last round of the Championship’s regular season.
The front row trio of Brian Scott (ribs), Niall Scannell (AC joint) and John Ryan (back) will all take part in training this week under the watchful eye of the medical department with their progress reviewed each day. Scott suffered a rib injury during training over a week ago, while Scannell and Ryan sustained knocks in the Champions Cup semi-final against Racing 92.
Kevin O’Byrne (hip flexor) has returned to on-field training, while Chris Cloete is progressing well with his rehabilitation from a fractured forearm sustained against Glasgow in February. The South African flanker is expected to return to training this week under the supervision of the medical staff.
Looking forward to face provincial rivals Leinster in Dublin, Munster captain Peter O’Mahony said: “It’s got to be a challenge, you’ve got to bring it on. If you’re sitting at home worrying about going somewhere at the weekend, you’re in the wrong business. You’ve got to see it as a challenge. Leinster are the team you want to be measuring yourself off.
“It’s gonna be hard, probably the hardest game we played all year, but it has to be our best performance. Surely that’s what you want to do as a professional rugby player, any professional athlete, you want to challenge yourself against the best.”
The Corkman added: “We’ve a game-plan, we’ve a structure, we’ll go out and play it. We’ll be talking about our performance and what we have to do to go out and win. I don’t want people saying after the weekend, ‘ah, Munster to be fair aren’t far off Leinster’. That’s not what I want.
“If we play well, I want people saying Munster played well, that’s what I want to hear. I don’t want to hear. ‘they’re close enough’. Leinster, what they’ve done for the last 12, 18 months, we’re not going to change that in a game. That’s the standard they have. We’ve all got to strive to try and get there.”