Johann van Graan yet to make a decision on whether he will start Joey Carbery against Ulster in crunch URC tie

Joey Carbery dives over to score Munster’s first try during the Champions Cup match against Exeter at Thomond Park. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

David Kelly

Munster coach Johann van Graan has yet to finalise whether he will start out-half Joey Carbery or how many of his front-line internationals may be available for a must-win clash in Belfast against Ulster this Friday.

Munster are under pressure to defeat their play-off rivals as they seek to cling on to the prospect of a home quarter-final or, perhaps, aim to supplant second-placed Ulster and be in line for a home semi-final also.

“Joey is a Test player, he had a really good game last Saturday, and if selected, he will look to build on that because you can always get better,” said Van Graan, who will wait to assess bumps and bruises to the side which qualified for the Champions Cup quarter-finals by defeating Exeter Chiefs in Thomond Park last weekend.

“He distributed and defended really well. The goal-kicking was the main difference in the two Exeter games and he had 100pc at the weekend.”

Van Graan admits it will be a difficult task against an Ulster side who are on a seven-game winning streak against their southern rivals at Ravenhill.

“The URC needed the South African competition and it’s a logjam from positions two to eight, so every point is important. We all have three rounds and it’s going to be tough.

We want to play every week and stay alive in both competitions. This week will be a tough game and we need to deliver a performance.

“It’s a tough assignment against a side who lost by just one point to Toulouse and they’re playing very good rugby. We’re going to have to be very good to get a result.

“They’re an all-round side. They maul exceptionally well and kick well off nine and ten, with John Cooney and Billy Burns while Stu McCloskey gets them over the gain-line. So we need an all-round game to beat them.

“We’ll have some momentum, but you have to start every week fresh and we only started today.”