MUNSTER’S starting players from Ireland 6 Nations Championship winning side will join up with the squad tomorrow when a decision will be made on their availability for Saturday’s crunch PRO12 clash with Connacht at Thomond Park, 5.15pm.
While Ireland squad members Simon Zebo, Keith Earls, Felix Jones, Ian Keatley and Tommy O’Donnell trained with the Munster squad at UL yesterday, Irish captain Paul O’Connell, flanker Peter O’Mahony and scrum-half Conor Murray will rejoin Anthony Foley’s squad tomorrow.
While Foley said a decision will then be made on what Irish players will be included in the squad to face Connacht, it seems unlikely that O’Connell. O’Mahony or Murray will feature for the province.
Anthony Foley said: “The guys who started at the weekend (for Ireland) we have got to give them an extra few days. Obviously it is as much physical as it is emotional at the moment for them. We will know more on Thursday.
“We have given it until then before we need to make a decision on some of these guys, see how they rock up after the 6 Nations. We have to do the right thing by them.”
Munster will be without second row Donnacha Ryan for this weekend’s inter-pro as he picked up a head injury playing for the province’s A side in their win over Ulster Ravens on Thursday.
Ryan made his first appearance of the season for the Munster senior side in the defeat to Ospreys at the start of the month having recovered from a long-term foot injury.
Foley said: “Donnacha Ryan won’t be available this week. He took a bang in the head in the A match v Ulster Ravens and hasn’t progressed well with his return to play protocols. So unfortunately we probably at this stage would rule him out for the weekend.”
Asked if he hoped the province’s talismanic second row, Paul O’Connell would continue playing beyond next autumn’s World Cup, Foley said: “He (Paul O’Connell) is contracted for another season.
“I am sure that (retirement date) is something he gets asked an awful lot about. To be honest, I haven’t had the discussion with him what I know is that he is contracted up to the end of next season and that is the way I view it.”