Earls return gets Penney's new year off to bright start
KEITH EARLS could be set to make a dramatic comeback to the Munster team for Saturday's Celtic League game against Cardiff Blues in Cork.
The 25-year-old Ireland international is expected to be included in a strong Munster team that will also feature a number of his international colleagues, including Donnacha Ryan and Dave Kilcoyne.
Earls has had an injury-plagued season so far, most recently missing the return leg of Munster's doubleheader with Saracens, but he is now poised to give Munster coach Rob Penney the best possible beginning to 2013 by starting against Cardiff.
Earls is expected to be named at outside-centre and if he comes through that test will also be included for the trip to Edinburgh for the resumption of Munster's Heineken Cup campaign the following weekend.
Meanwhile, Ulster coach Mark Anscombe admitted captain Johann Muller is likely to lose his race to be ready for the final two rounds of the Heineken Cup Pool stages – despite his quicker than expected recovery from a fractured arm.