Munster boosted by return of Conway and O'Callaghan
Munster look set to be boosted by the return of Andrew Conway and Dave O'Callaghan to fitness for their second away trip to Italy in a week.
Anthony Foley's side will take on Zebre this Saturday as they return to Pro12 action, and with seven of their squad in Carton House preparing for the Six Nations with Ireland, having the duo back is a huge lift.
Centre Denis Hurley remains sidelined with an adductor muscle injury, while knee injury victim Peter O'Mahony is also a 'medium term' casualty, although coach Ian Costello remains confident that their skipper will be fit to play some part this season.
“We would expect he'll play (before the end of the season),” said Costello. “Peter is not due back in the next few weeks. It's still medium term. But what he has done is stepped up his presence around the squad.
“He's in nearly all of our meetings, in our mini groups, the leadership groups. When you are in the early stages of injury you are not as involved in that, so he has been a lot more hands on the last three to four weeks, which is great.”
A bonus point win against Treviso last weekend was the perfect way to end a disappointing Champions Cup campaign for Munster, and with a return journey to the north of Italy to relaunch their Pro12 campaign, the transition should be seamless.
Munster have still to find out which – if any – of their players will be released back to them from Joe Schmidt's preparations, but Costello is happy that they'll be in good shape either way.
“We've lost some quality players to the Ireland camp, but we also have a couple of players coming off the B&I Cup with form and to have Dave coming back in and it looks like Andy Conway has offset a bit of that loss,” Costello said.