Munster revealed some encouraging news on injured half-backs Conor Murray and Tyler Bleyendaal today but the availability of both tighthead props John Ryan and Stephen Archer remains in doubt ahead of Friday’s trip to Cardiff Blues.
Neither Ireland scrum-half Murray nor fly-half Bleyendaal is expected to return to the Munster team in the immediate future but there was a positive update on the pair issued by the province today.
Murray’s neck injury was “progressing well in his rehabilitation under the supervision of the medical department”, the update stated while Bleyendaal, out since injuring his neck last February has “started his return to team training”.
The New Zealand-born, Irish-qualified fly-half has been serving as a water carrier during matches since the tail end of last season and will have seen at first hand as first Ryan and then Archer were helped from the field last Friday in Cork during Munster’s Guinness PRO14 win over Ospreys.
Ryan suffered an ankle injury in the 49-13 win at Musgrave Park and was set to have a scan today before seeing a specialist this week to determine further treatment.
Archer, who started against Ospreys but returned to the field as Ryan’s replacement, was treated for concussion following a Head Injury Assessment and will have to complete the return to play protocols under the supervision of the medical department before he can be passed fit for the trip to Cardiff.
The props were not the only casualties with replacement scrum-half James Hart suffering a knee injury while the following day’s Celtic Cup win at Ospreys saw Munster A full-back Stephen Fitzgerald and forward Sean O’Connor suffer concussions.
Munster head coach Johann van Graan meanwhile has warned his players not to read too much into Cardiff’s position at the wrong end of PRO14 Conference A with three defeats from three games so far this season.
Instead, he has pointed to the Blues' four bonus points and a points differential for last season’s European Challenge Cup winners of just minus five from those three losses to Leinster, Treviso and Zebre.
“That’s sport. If you look at results then you might get caught with your pants down,” van Graan said today.
“They’re a quality side.
“Their first game of the season against Leinster, they were up by quite a bit and lost it right at the end. Basically all three games they’ve lost in the dying seconds.
“It’s a quality team, we learned that lesson last season when we went down there in February (losing 25-18) and they didn’t play in a European final for nothing. It’s a quality side and we’ll have to play well away to beat them.”