O'Donnell set to return for Leinster showdown
Tommy O'Donnell has handed Munster a major boost with the news that he is set to return from the hip injury that has kept him out for the last five months.
The 28-year-old was stretchered off in Ireland's World Cup warm-up game against Wales which subsequently ruled him out of the tournament.
The flanker was expected to be out until February but he trained fully in Cork yesterday and will be available for selection for Sunday's derby clash against Leinster.
The timely news comes after Dave O'Callaghan suffered a hamstring injury that will mean a spell on the sidelines, and coach Anthony Foley agreed that O'Donnell's return was a huge boost.
"Tommy will be in the squad, he will be in contention," Foley said. "We just want to see how he pulls up. He has done a massive amount of work over the last number of weeks. We just want to make sure that it's the right thing to do.
"Once he didn't get it operated on, I think it sped up his recovery. Initially they were talking February. Once the operation didn't happen, they were talking around early January.
"In fairness, he has blown people away with the work he has been asked to do and the functionality from what he could do in the gym and what he could do in the pool, to what he could do running-wise as early as he was able to. A lot of that is down to his application and drive to get back in."
Foley also revealed that he is still in talks about extending his contract at Munster. "There was a deadline of December 1 to agree something or to try and get the extra year extended. The IRFU are happy with that," he said. "There are a few things that need to be clarified around it."