Monday 19 February 2018

Munster boss Rassie Erasmus issues positive injury update on star quartet

Peter O'Mahony of Munster acknowledges supporters after the European Rugby Champions Cup Quarter-Final match between Munster and Toulouse at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Peter O'Mahony of Munster acknowledges supporters after the European Rugby Champions Cup Quarter-Final match between Munster and Toulouse at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Rassie Erasmus hopes that his quartet of injured leaders will be fit enough for the Champions Cup semi-final in three weeks' time.

Conor Murray missed tonight's win over Toulouse after not recovering from his shoulder injury in time, while Peter O’Mahony (thigh), CJ Stander (ankle) and Keith Earls (back) were forced off during the second-half.

The South African was upbeat about the Ireland men and was relieved that his other players stepped up to the plate in their absence last night.

The decision to withdraw Murray came at the Captain’s Run on Friday but Erasmus believes he is not too far away from recovering from the problem he incurred against Wales three weeks ago.

“Three weeks ago he almost played for Ireland. It’s a waiting game, a matter of him getting more power into his arm,” he said.

“We thought until Friday’s Captain’s Run he’d make it. But he’s not 34, it’s not his last game and hopefully he’ll be back soon.

“Keith I don’t think it’s serious, it’s back pain, CJ hurt his ankle, Peter was a massive blow to his upper thigh. A dead leg, a massive dead leg.

“The tough thing for us is to manage the squad. We have to manage the games, we’re in a semi-final and the upcoming (Pro12 games) we’ll have to rest players here and there.

“We’ll keep Europe in the back of our heads. Hopefully those guys will be available, I’m not sure."

Today’s game between Saracens and Glasgow Warriors will decide where Munster will play their last four clash. If Sarries win their home game, they will travel to Dublin while the clash with Glasgow would take place at Murrayfield.

Erasmus’s preference is to stay in Ireland.

“It would always be better to play in Ireland, we’ll be hoping for that. If not, we’ll have to go and play in Scotland,” he said.

Man of the match John Ryan said the squad always believed they could progress to this stage.

“It’s something we’ve worked on, we believed we’d get there. Not many people, but we backed ourselves to do well,” he said.

“We’re anxiously waiting for tomorrow’s games. We’re well used to Glasgow, but I wouldn’t say no to either.”

Toulouse were well in this contest until the final 10 minutes when tries from Darren Sweetnam and Andrew Conway put a gloss on the scoreline and Ryan admitted the result flattered the home team.

“It was a tough game,” he said.

“The floodgates opened in the last 10 minutes and the scoreline is flattering but we’re delighted to be in semi-finals again.

“They were a threat for the entire game, little chips behind and hard yards up front. But credit to the lads who made the hits. It was a brilliant defensive effort.

“The set-piece is their bread and butter, they picked a 6/2 split on their bench and that was a statement. We knew they’d back their scrum and maul, but we held it well without having dominance.”

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