MUNSTER say Doug Howlett is "very keen to continue" with the province, despite being ruled out of the remainder of the season with an Achilles injury.
The 33-year-old was injured in last weekend's defeat to the Ospreys and had already been ruled out of Munster's back-to-back Heineken Cup clashes with the Scarlets over the next two weekends. The province confirmed yesterday that scans revealed Howlett had ruptured his Achilles and will have surgery in Dublin this week, with an expected recovery period of at least six months.
It is a massive blow for province and player as Howlett had been in superb form, picking up four tries already this season, two in the Heineken Cup.
Munster coach Tony McGahan faces a back-three headache heading to Wales with Felix Jones and Keith Earls still on the injured list, although Earls is expected to resume full training next week.
Howlett's injury means McGahan could look at giving Simon Zebo his first Heineken Cup start or moving Danny Barnes to the wing, with Denis Hurley and Johne Murphy the other players in the back-three equation. The winger is out of contract at the end of this season, but Munster claim Howlett is "very keen to continue" his involvement with the province given his impact since joining in 2007.
Full-back Jones, hooker Jerry Flannery and back-row David Wallace are not expected back until the new year, but prop Peter Borlase is expected to be fit to play in Saturday's British and Irish Cup match against Ayr in Tralee. Hooker Mike Sherry is not expected back for another six weeks.