Munster’s Earls edges closer to return

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

Keith Earls, who is edging closer to a return to action after a knee injury, chats with Munster team manager Niall O'Donovan at a squad training session at UL
KEITH Earls is due to resume training with the Munster squad this week with the province hoping the winger could feature in Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 clash away to Zebre and the crucial European Champions Cup fixtures against Saracens and Sale later this month.

KEITH Earls is due to resume training with the Munster squad this week with the province hoping the winger could feature in Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 clash away to Zebre and the crucial European Champions Cup fixtures against Saracens and Sale later this month.

Twenty seven-year-old Earls has not played for Munster this season after undergoing surgery on his right knee at the end of September.

Earls return to fitness would be a major boost for Munster who will look to bounce back to winning ways when they travel to the Stadio XXV Aprile to take on PRO12 basement side Zebre on Saturday next, 3pm Irish time.

Anthony Foley said: “Keith was with us against Connacht in Galway. We just wanted to see him back in and around the squad. We will see how he trains this week, see where he gets to.

“He hasn’t trained with the squad yet. He has been doing a lot of work on his own, so hopefully we can get him back off the treatment table and onto the pitch. That would be a big boost for us.”

Munster will also hope to have international scrum half Conor Murray back in contention for selection for their trip to Italy next weekend. Murray missed the New Year’s Day PRO12 defeat away to Connacht with a shoulder injury.

Foley said: “Conor (Murray) has a shoulder issue, along with a number of fellas in our squad. I am told the best thing to do is leave it rest and not have him do contact and manage that.

“Hopefully he will be back training this week.”

Despite losing to Connacht in Galway, Munster remain in third place in the Guinness PRO12 table with the two sides above them - Glasgow and Ospreys - both losing over the weekend.

Leinster moved into fourth place as their win over Ulster at the RDS on Saturday, saw them leapfrog the visitors into the playoff places.