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Howlett a major doubt but Zebo looking good

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Munster's Simon Zebo in action during squad training ahead of their Heineken Cup quarter-final against Harlequins

Munster's Simon Zebo in action during squad training ahead of their Heineken Cup quarter-final against Harlequins

Munster's Simon Zebo in action during squad training ahead of their Heineken Cup quarter-final against Harlequins

DOUG HOWLETT is Munster's biggest fitness concern ahead of Sunday's Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with Harlequins, WRITES Conor George.

The Munster captain is nursing shoulder and knee injuries sustained in last weekend's Pro12 loss to Glasgow.

A decision on his availability will be taken after a fitness test on tomorrow, when Simon Zebo will also be assessed.

"We have got a lot of doubt about Doug," said Munster coach Rob Penney. "We'll make a decision on Simon later in the week too, but his progress is on an upward motion, so that's positive for us. We'll wait and see at the end of the week."

The good news is that Donnacha Ryan has returned to training in good fettle after he, Conor Murray and Peter O'Mahony were given an extra week's rest following their Six Nations exertions.

"Donnacha is in a really good head space and as good as could be expected physically. He has had a couple of good weeks off, being able to deal with the issues he had through the Six Nations, and he's not having too many repercussions from that.

"If he comes through today's (Wednesday) sessions and shows no repercussions he should be in the mix," Penney said.

Munster have not named a squad for Sunday's game and will wait until tomorrow's noon deadline before naming their starting team as they wait on the various injury reports.

Meanwhile, Munster's roster for next season has taken further shape with the announcement that second-row Ian Nagle and centre Ivan Dineen have extended their contracts.

Nagle has agreed a one-year extension while Dineen has signed on for a further two.

Limerick-based scrum-half Cathal Sheridan is rewarded for his impressive form this season with a promotion from a development deal to a full one-year contract, while Barry O'Mahony extends his development contract for another season.

Academy players Cian Bohane, Duncan Casey, James Cronin, Ronan O'Mahony and Niall Scannell have all signed development contracts for season 2013-14.

A number of fringe players will be leaving the club at the end of the season, including Sean Scanlon, who is joining Rotherham Titans.

• Wales winger George North last night signed for Northampton Saints.

Irish Independent