Munster are hoping for positive news on the wrist injury that Joey Carbery sustained during their 13-all draw with Benetton in the second round of the BKT United Rugby Championship last Sunday.
The injured occurred early in the second half but Carbery stayed on to play a crucial role in Munster earning a share of the spoils in Treviso. He kicked a late penalty and converted Tom Ahern’s try in the final seconds to ensure the teams finished level.
The experienced out-half, who turns 28 on Wednesday, went a scan today to further assess the injury, while Josh Wycherley (neck) will definitely miss next Saturday evening’s date with the Dragons at Musgrave Park.
“We don’t actually have a final result on that yet,” acknowledged Munster attack coach Mike Prendergast, when asked about the extent of Carbery’s injury.
“Joey is going for a scan this afternoon. He had a bit of pain during it (the game), he felt it and got through the game, but it was the day after that it got worse and worse.
“He’s going for a scan and we’ll just wait and see after that. Hopefully it will be good news but if not, I suppose we’ll be prepared as well. Jack Crowley is still away, but we have Rory Scannell and Tony Butler who can come in.
“In terms of how Joey approached the season, it was a tough end to the last one but he had a really, really good pre-season and came back bouncing. He was a massive part of us getting the two points in Italy and hopefully it’s not serious.”
Although Niall Scannell and Andrew Conway are also absentees this week, Munster are boosted by the return to training of Craig Casey, fresh from his first Rugby World Cup campaign, and both Liam Coombes and Jack O’Sullivan who have recovered from their respective thigh and knee injuries.
The fit-again Paddy Patterson and Sean O’Brien both made their seasonal bows against the Italian side last weekend, with centre/winger O’Brien introduced just past the 50-minute mark for his competitive debut in Munster colours.
The BKT URC title holders made their eight replacements between the 48th and 64th minutes, and the fresh legs helped to turn the tide in their favour as they maintained their unbeaten start to the new season.
The two points could prove important in the long run, but Prendergast admitted: “The first half was disappointing, we just couldn’t get momentum. We watched it (back) this morning. There were too many errors that didn’t allow us to get momentum in the game.
“I felt the last 30 minutes we started to hold onto the ball a small bit more, won a few penalties, kicked to the corner. Lost a couple of lineouts, got back in there, managed to get our maul going. I suppose we started to fatigue them and break them down a small bit.
“That’s when you could see we started putting a bit of pressure on them. With seven-and-a-half minutes remaining, we were still 10 points behind, but it’s a good sign as well when things aren’t going perfectly well that you find a way.
“I know it didn’t look it, but conditions, the underfoot conditions weren’t as easy over there, and that’s not an excuse. It’s just harder and there were a few errors through that.
“I think our bench coming on made big impact. Certain individuals really added to it, we speak about those impact players and that’s what they did.
“We showed great desire in the end to get two points, but not taking away from our first 40 minutes, it just wasn’t good enough. We know that, we’re very clear and conscious of that.
“We gave our feedback and all we want to do now is move forward and look at what the Dragons will bring. We know we need to be a lot better than that in our first 40 and it’s something we spoke about. We have to start the game strong this weekend and keep the performance going.”
Meanwhile, Prendergast confirmed it will be another ‘three to four weeks’ before World Cup-winning second row duo Jean Kleyn and RG Snyman are back with the province, following their contribution to South Africa’s latest success on the global stage.
Gradually getting their international players back on board will be key for Munster who have two upcoming interprovincial clashes with Ulster and Leinster, along with a repeat of last season’s URC final against the DHL Stormers, before the Investec Champions Cup begins in December.
“It’s really important this year how we manage our internationals, both the South African boys and our own Irish lads as well, in how we integrate them back in terms of time, etc., because there’s still a long season to go here,” added the Limerick man.
“I think that will be crucial to teams and competitions towards the back-end of the season. It’s something we’ve spoken in depth about and how we do that individually. Obviously there will be collective players coming back together.
“But how we manage that individually, that we can pan it out, I suppose, over the next number of weeks, and hopefully that will stand to us towards the back-end of the season.”