WINGER Keith Earls is rated very doubtful for the province’s glamour Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with Harlequins next month after injuring his shoulder while playing for Ireland on Saturday.
Earls is understood to have injured the AC joint in his shoulder and some estimates believe the 25-year-old could be sidelined for some six weeks.
The versatile Earls is certain to miss Munster’s RaboDirect PRO12 tie with Connacht at Musgrave Park at this Saturday (5.45pm). Earls is set to have a further specialist examination of the injury this week, but it is feared the Limerickman will miss Munster’s last eight Heineken Cup clash with ‘Quins at the Stoop on Sunday, April, 7.
News of the injury is also a major blow to Earls hopes of making the Lions squad for this summer’s tour to Australia. Earls toured with the Lions in South Africa four years ago as a 21 year old on the back of a highly impressive season with Munster.
While Earls’ injury concerns is a blow to a Munster side facing an uphill battle to make the play-offs in the RaboDirect PRO12, there was further good news in relation to Paul O’Connell’s comeback from injury over the weekend.
O’Connell played for Young Munster in their AIL clash with Cork Con at Clifford Park on Saturday. It was the 33-year-old’s first full 80 minutes of rugby since October. The talismanic second row had also played 40 minutes in the Munster A side’s interpro victory over Leinster A last week.
O’Connell looks set to be involved in the Munster squad for this Saturday’s derby clash with Connacht in Cork.