Munster’s preparations for the upcoming season suffered a setback with the news that Francis Saili will be sidelined for up to four months through injury.
Saili underwent a further shoulder procedure on Monday and is currently recovering post-op.
Speaking with media on Tuesday, Munster’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus confirmed that the All Blacks centre is expected to be sidelined for approximately three to four months.
In preparing for the first pre-season encounter of the season – against Zebre, in Waterford on Friday – and a first for the new coaching ticket, the squad stepped up their training programme this week with an extended matchday squad set to be named on Wednesday.
In addition to some household names it is expected a number of academy and club players, who have been training during the pre-season, will be included in Friday’s squad.
Those not involved include returning internationals Conor Murray, Keith Earls, CJ Stander, Donnacha Ryan and Dave Kilcoyne, and rehabbing players such as Sam Arnold (knee), Mark Chisholm (concussion), Sean McCarthy (knee), Peter O’Mahony (knee) and Johnny Holland (hamstring).
Meanwhile, newcomer Jean Kleyn has linked up with the squad as of last week, however this Friday’s game comes too early for selection as the South African lock continues to settle in and familiarise himself with the new set-up.