Ringrose and Lowe may get call but Furlong doubts remain

Garry Ringrose is back for Leinster

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Leinster hope to welcome Ireland pair Garry Ringrose and James Lowe back to the fold for Saturday's crunch clash with Munster at Thomond Park.

Injuries aside, both teams are expected to be at full strength for the rescheduled Guinness PRO14 derby, which was initially meant to be played on St Stephen's Day but was called off due to a number of false positive Covid-19 tests in the Leinster camp.

Ringrose broke his jaw playing in Ireland's win over Italy on October 24 and then suffered a similar injury during Leinster's pre-Christmas victory over Northampton Saints.

Lowe, meanwhile, suffered a groin injury in Ireland training and hasn't played since Andy Farrell's men's defeat to England on November 21.

Leinster will issue an injury update today, but they're likely to be without Seán Cronin, who picked up a knee injury against Ulster last time out.

It remains to be seen if Tadhg Furlong will be brought back from injury for the game, which is the final match before Farrell names his Six Nations squad on Sunday or Monday next.

Furlong last played in Ireland's first Twickenham defeat of 2020 back on February 23.

Having been troubled by a back problem initially, the Wexford native's calf has kept him out of action since rugby resumed. While Leinster have repeatedly said there is no reason to be alarmed about his long-term future, it is a real concern to Farrell, given the Lion's undoubted quality.

Munster, meanwhile, will hope to have Dave Kilcoyne and Jack O'Donoghue back available while Jean Kleyn and Mike Haley will train if they've come through the return-to-play protocols.

Johann van Graan is likely to stick closely to the team that beat Connacht in their last outing, with Andrew Conway perhaps coming into contention after a spell out.

Leo Cullen has big calls to make, however, particularly in the pack where he must decide on a partner for James Ryan and the optimal back-row given the availability of Rhys Ruddock, Scott Fardy, Josh Murphy, Dan Leavy, Josh van der Flier, Will Connors, Scott Penny, Caelan Doris and Jack Conan.