Leading Munster trio ruled out of Thomond showdown
Munster's hopes of closing the gap on rivals Leinster at the top of the Pro12 have been dealt a big blow with confirmation that skipper Paul O'Connell, scrum-half Conor Murray and lock Donnacha Ryan will all miss the Thomond Park clash on Saturday (7.30).
But Munster coach Tony McGahan remains hopeful that the trio of Irish internationals will be available for the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster on Sunday week.
O'Connell and Murray are recovering from knee injuries, while Ryan is struggling with a shoulder injury. McGahan said there was no chance of risking them this weekend with the Ulster game to follow.
Murray is expected to be fit for the quarter-final, but O'Connell remains their biggest concern.
"With Paul's determination and his healing powers, it would take a very significant injury for him to be kept out of a quarter-final. You saw the way he picked up the injury in the 60th minute (against France) and played through for the last 20 minutes, his pain threshold is exceptionally high. I'm sure he'll do everything in his power to make sure he's fit," said McGahan.
Meanwhile, Munster have confirmed that Peter Stringer, currently on loan with Newcastle Falcons having also had a spell at Saracens, has agreed a new one-year contract for next season.
"We're delighted to have him back," said McGahan.
Lock Dave Foley has also signed a one-year deal, having turned down the option of a two-year contract.