Munster bolstered by star centre’s return but Ireland prospect among three whose season is over

Adam Kyriacou
Alex Nankivell in action for Munster.

Alex Nankivell in action for Munster.

Munster have been handed mixed injury news ahead of their United Rugby Championship semi-final clash with Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park on Saturday evening.

Graham Rowntree’s men booked their place in the last four after defeating the Ospreys 23-7 last Friday, with Jack Crowley’s boot helping to seal the quarter-final win.

They were boosted ahead of that match by the return from injury of Antoine Frisch and it looks like another key centre, Alex Nankivell, is set for a welcome comeback.

Impressive signing

Nankivell was crowned the signing of the United Rugby Championship campaign on Planet Rugby after hitting the ground running since he arrived from the Chiefs.

His return to action would be a welcome fillip alongside Frisch and Munster coach Rowntree admitted to the Irish Examiner that the former is “probably” set to play.

“A certain New Zealand centre, Nanks, I’m hoping will be back in the mix. Another one who has been charging around in the rehab group next to us training,” he said.

“I’ve been keeping an eye on Nanks. So potentially Nanks, sorry, probably Nanks will be back in the mix.”

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His expected return comes after hooker Diarmuid Barron enjoyed his comeback match in the quarter-final triumph after five months on the sidelines due to injury.

However, the positive news has been soured somewhat by an update on injured trio Thomas Ahern, Rory Scannell and Joey Carbery, whose URC seasons are over.

Ahern has been excellent this campaign and his form has led to growing noise about a potential future at international level, with that having to be now put on ice.

Surgery for Ahern

The flanker will undergo surgery on an ankle/lower leg issue while Scannell (ankle) also requires surgery and Carbery (thumb) has played his last Munster fixture.

“Done. Operation this week coming, as is Rory Scannell,” Rowntree said of Ahern. “And you know about Joey. Their seasons are over, unfortunately. It’s no way for Joey to finish his Munster career, I feel for the kid.

“Yeah, you’re never not disappointed to lose players of their calibre. The way Joey got himself back with his performance, and Rory has just been a soldier for us.

“He didn’t get much of a look-in in South Africa, he trained every day and actually played well when he’s had his time in the field, Edinburgh, notably, and last week in particular.

“And Tom, what a season Tom has had. There’s a light really gone on in him in terms of that six role and playing on the edge of the field.”

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