Donnacha Ryan is highly unlikely to be fit in time for either of Munster’s Heineken Cup games against Perpignan despite his expected return to training this week.
The Ireland second-row has been out since October with a knee ligament injury that kept him out of the November internationals. There had been hope that the healing process was ahead of schedule, but coach Rob Penney does not expect to be able to call on the Tipperary native.
“He’s making progress, but he’s probably a couple of weeks away. He hasn’t been to our sessions on grass yet, but hopefully he will in those in the next seven days,” Penney said.
“It’s highly unlikely (he’ll make the second game in Perpignan), we haven’t closed the door yet but it’s highly unlikely.”
Munster go into these back-to-back games against the Catalans sitting second in the pool behind Sunday’s opponents and Penney conceded that this weekend’s meeting at Thomond Park is a must win game.
“It is where it is, it’s even. We’re masters of our own destiny. We could have been better, but it could have been worse and we’re still in the hunt,” he said of the pool to date.
“They’re a big, big side. They’re dangerous from broken field, have continuity in open play and they play with exceptional width. So, we have to manage the game well and keep the ball away from them, nullify their massive strength physically.
“We have got to do a job at home, because otherwise there is no point in jumping on the plane to Perpignan if we don’t do that job.”