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Sunday 25 February 2018

Donnacha Ryan and JJ Hanrahan could make Toulon clash - Rob Penney

Rob Penney has described JJ Hanrahan's recovery from a groin injury as
Rob Penney has described JJ Hanrahan's recovery from a groin injury as "miraculous"

Ruaidhri O’Connor

DONNACHA RYAN remains an outside bet to play for Munster against Marseille this Sunday while JJ Hanrahan has yet to be ruled out by coach Rob Penney.

The New Zealander cleared Casey Laulala to play in the Heineken Cup semi-final clash, with the former All Black set to take on Mathieu Bastareaud head-to-head in the centre.

Otherwise, James Cronin looks set to be brought back on to the bench after overcoming his sprained ankle, while BJ Botha looks set to be cleared to play.

“I think we’re in really good shape,” Penney said at today’s pre-match media briefing in Dolphin RFC’s clubhouse in Cork.

“We came out of the game in Galway the other day in really good shape, not too banged up and no major injury concerns.

“A couple of guys, as I think I mentioned at the time, we wanted to give some freshening up time. We’ve done that. BJ (Botha) had a bit of an illness last week and that’s why he didn’t get any game time. Now he’s back to 100%.”

Penney described Hanrahan’s recovery so far from groin tear as “miraculous”, but the Kerry native remains a doubt with Conor Murray covering the out-half position if he doesn’t make it.

And Ryan, whose season has been decimated by persistent knee problems, remains in with a shout of playing.

“The guys of note are probably JJ. He’s not out of the reckoning. He’s had I suppose a miraculous turnaround. He is doing some running,” he said of the out-half who took a minimal part in training at Irish Independent Park.

“It’ll be a big ask to get him anywhere near Sunday but it possibly could happen.

“Donnacha Ryan he trained partially today. It’s very much dependent upon how he comes through this evening and tomorrow, as to whether he’ll be a possible option, but he’s not out of the reckoning either.

“Casey (Laulala) is fine. James Cronin has come back from his ankle strain, did his first little bit of scrimmaging on Friday and did his first full set today, and he looks like he’s ready to go.”

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