Injuries pile up for Munster as they look to short-term cover

Injuries pile up for Munster as they look to short-term cover

Munster may consider getting short-term injury cover in on the back of Tuesday’s attritional URC defeat to Leinster.

The province went into the game dealing with a number of injury concerns and then saw three forwards forced off over the course of the 9-3 loss.

Diarmuid Barron (foot) and Dave Kilcoyne (HIA) both left the action in the opening 20 minutes before second row Edwin Edogbo suffered an Achilles injury in the second half. The 21-year-old has a history with Achilles issues – missing nearly 10 months after rupturing his left Achilles in October 2021 and then being sidelined for four months after tearing his right Achilles in November 2022 – and is now set for another spell on the sidelines.

With Leinster-bound lock RG Snyman also injured and Jean Kleyn working his way back from an eye injury, the province are low on options in the engine room, with Gavin Coombes moving to the second row for the Leinster game.

With Edogbo now also unavailable, Rowntree admitted Munster may need to look at bringing in some injury cover ahead of a key run of fixtures.

“Potentially,” Rowntree said. “Within the next day, yeah, we’ll have a look at that. Gav’s moved into the second row from the back row before, a huge work-rate doing that. We’ll have a look at that.”

The defeat saw Munster extend their winless run to three games and while Rowntree felt it was an improved performance on the Champions Cup loss at Exeter, the Munster boss was disappointed to see his side fail to take their opportunites in Leinster’s 22.

“But we have to be better. Better at nailing key lineouts on their goal line.

“We repelled them there (in our 22 in the first half). We did it actually in the second half as well but then we back it up with an error, it was forced and unforced.

“I’m really proud of our effort there, such a different game to last week but you’ve got nail your opportunities when you can in the opposition 22. There were a couple of lineouts there, we’ve got to look at that, what better options were there for us and what could we do better.

“There’s always another game to prepare for. We can’t be down for too long. We’ve got to find a team firstly to get out there for a massive game on New Year’s Day against Connacht.”

Munster may be counting the bodies for next week’s trip to Galway but Rowntree will take some satisfaction from the performance of Oli Jager, who impressed on his first start since joining from the Crusaders.

The tighthead saw an early scrum penalty call go against him but recovered to win two himself across a fascinating head-to-head with Ireland loosehead Andrew Porter.

“It was a ding-dong battle,” Rowntree added.

“That was a ding-dong and they were able to bring on (Dan) Sheehan, (Jason) Jenkins, (Ryan) Baird, you know, we didn’t have those resources and we dug in there, particularly at the end of the game.

“Jeremy (Loughman) gets yellow-carded, Oli comes back on at loosehead, we can resource the scrum which meant we didn’t have to take bodies off elsewhere which would have created space, which would have taken… we dug in there and got a losing bonus point because of that.

“You know, packed house, Thomond Park, St Stephen’s Day, it was a fierce game. It wasn’t a tryfest, just a fierce game. We were fighting for every inch there and moments in the game. I’m proud of the lads.”

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