MUNSTER have been dealt a big blow ahead of their massive Heineken Cup game against Saracens in Thomond Park this Saturday with the news that South African CJ Stander has been ruled out with a broken bone in his hand.
Stander scored two tries in a stunning debut against Glasgow last weekend but the injury will rule him out of this Saturday’s game as well as the return fixture in London eight days later.
Munster are also sweating on the fitness of Tommy O’Donnell who was forced off with an ankle injury in the Glasgow game. However, James Coughlan appears to have made a successful recuperation and has been registered on Munster’s Heineken Cup squad. He’s likely to take his place at Number 8 where he will be joined by Peter O’Mahony. However, Munster’s backrow injury crisis sees Stander, O’Donnell, Sean Dougall and Niall Ronan all on the treatment table.
That could open the door for Paddy Butler to make his first Heineken Cup start. There is also the option of moving Donnacha Ryan to the backrow and starting Billy Holland in the second row alongside Donncha O’Callaghan, assuming Paul O’Connell doesn’t make a dramatic return.
The Munster team is expected to be named on Thursday.