Flannery's November Series hopes fading
Any hopes of seeing Jerry Flannery in an Ireland shirt this month grew slimmer yesterday when Munster confirmed that he will not feature against Australia in seven days' time.
The 32-year-old hooker suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury prior to last month's Heineken Cup clash against Toulon and, though he is expected to return to training this week, he is not included in Tony McGahan's squad to take on the Wallabies.
"Jerry is doing very well," explained team manager Shaun Payne after yesterday's training session in Limerick. "But we have to see how he reacts to a proper full week of training before there is any chance of a game.
"We're not going to be risking him at this stage, unless something remarkable happens in the interim."
Payne also confirmed that Tomas O'Leary has no chance of returning to action in time for Ireland's clash with Argentina at the end of November.
The Corkman broke his thumb against Leinster last month and still has another three to four weeks to go before he comes back into contention for his province.
Meanwhile, Paul O'Connell continues to make steady progress on the training paddock and is expected to be available for selection for one or both of Munster's two matches against the Ospreys in December.
He is not, however, expected to line out for his club Young Munster in the AIL at any stage before that.
"There are plenty of Magners League games between now and then," said Payne. "So I would suggest that we are far more likely to see him off the bench in a Magners League game than in a Young Munster game."
Munster returned to training yesterday following a down week and thoughts are already firmly focused on the arrival of Australia next Tuesday. The Wallabies take on Leicester tonight in the first of their midweek games and a similar selection is expected at Thomond Park.
Munster's team selection will not be finalised until the day before the match as McGahan awaits to see who is available to him following Ireland's game against Samoa.
He is boosted, however, by the return from injury of Tom Gleeson and fellow midfielder Sam Tuitupou, who has served his three-week ban.
Newly acquired prop Peter Borlase is also named in a provisional 30-man squad, though he isn't expected to arrive from Wellington until Thursday.
Munster squad (v Australia) -- M Sherry, S Henry, W du Preez, P Borlase, D Ryan, S Archer, D Foley, I Nagle, B Hayes, B Holland, A Quinlan, N Ronan, J Coughlan, T O'Donnell, P O'Mahony, P Butler, D Williams, P Warwick, C Murray, D Cusack, JJ Hanrahan, T Gleeson, B Murphy, S Tuitupou, I Dineen, D Howlett, S Zebo, S Scanlon, D Hurley, S Deasy.
Australia (v Leicester Tigers) -- P Hynes; R Davies, P McCabe, A Faingaa, L Turner; B Barnes, L Burgess; J Slipper, H Edmonds, S Ma'afu; V Humphries, R Simmons; S Higginbotham, M Hodgson, R Brown. Reps: S Faingaa, B Daley, D Mumm, P McCutcheon, N Phipps, M Giteau, L Morahan.