Saturday 17 August 2019

Munster confirm Joey Carbery is 'highly unlikely' to feature in Champions Cup semi final clash with Saracens

Joey Carbery. Photo: Sportsfile
Joey Carbery. Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

It is ‘highly unlikely' that Joey Carbery will be fit for Munster's Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens on Saturday week, according to Munster coach Johann van Graan.

Carbery limped off before half time of Munster's quarter-final win against Edinburgh after he had made his comeback for that game following seven weeks on the sidelines with a similar injury.

And 12 days ahead of the Saracens game on 20 April at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, the coach says he does not expect Carbery to be able to prove his fitness.

"Joey at this stage is highly unlikely for the semi-final," said van Graan. "There's still a possibility but no, like we said last week we'll just take it day by day. But at this stage we'll see how he is next week." 

Meanwhile, van Graan confirmed Keith Earls had been withdrawn before last weekend's victory over Cardiff Blues, purely as a precautionary measure.

Earls was suffering with stiffness in his legs ahead of the game and the decision was taken to start Darren Sweetnam instead.

"Keith was more precautionary. He's such an important player and he was really stiff in the warm-up so we decided to pull him out."

Meanwhile, van Graan said he was honoured to re-sign with the province for another two years, which has extended his contract until 2022.

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The head coach took charge of the team in December 2017 when Rassie Erasmus took on the role of head coach with his native South Africa. He says it was an easy decision to extend his deal.

"You've always got to look at the future and my family and I have settled in very well in Limerick and we've enjoyed Munster," said van Graan.

"I know this is professional sport and my contract was due at the end of next season, when Munster Rugby said they wanted to keep me here and I gave it a lot of thought with my family and delighted to stay.

"The very first day I said this is about Munster, not about me so I'd like to keep it that way and I'm very fortunate to work with incredible players and incredible management staff and everyone working at Munster. The Munster supporters have been very good to me and it's great to be associated with Munster Rugby."

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