Blow for Munster as Botha ruled out with knee injury

BJ Botha reacts after picking up a knee injury in last Saturday's pre-season friendly against London Irish in Musgrave Park
MUNSTER have been dealt a blow ahead of the start of the RaboDirect PRO12 this Saturday with confirmation that experienced tighthead prop BJ Botha is set to miss the opening four games of the season at least.

MUNSTER have been dealt a blow ahead of the start of the RaboDirect PRO12 this Saturday with confirmation that experienced tighthead prop BJ Botha is set to miss the opening four games of the season at least.

Munster have revealed that Botha had suffered a medial ligament tear during the course of Friday night’s friendly win against London Irish.

The news rules the South African out of Saturday’s PRO12 season opener against Edinburgh at Musgrave Park (7.15pm) as well as the following fixtures away to Italian sides Zebre and Treviso and the home tie with Newport Gwent Dragons.

Botha will rehab the injury in the coming weeks in the hope of being fit for the marquee PRO12 tie against Leinster in Limerick on October 5 and the start of the Heineken Cup on the following weekend.

Winger Andrew Conway who sustained a ‘dead’ leg against Gloucester and centre James Downey, who continues to rehab his quad tear, will also miss Saturday’s clash with Edinburgh.

Felix Jones (shoulder) and Luke O’Dea (wrist) continue with their rehabilitation, while Lions Conor Murray, Paul O’Connell and Simon Zebo continue their pre-season training and will miss the opening few rounds of the PRO12. Munster have won their last five games against Edinburgh in all competitions, while the Scots’ last win in Cork was in 2004.