Erasmus hopeful Irish stars will be fit for Munster's semi-final

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Erasmus hopeful Irish stars will be fit for Munster's semi-final

MUNSTER Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus is keeping his fingers crossed that the province’s quartet of injured Irish internationals will be available for their upcoming European Champions Cup semi-final.

Munster thumped Toulouse 41-16 on Saturday evening before a capacity crowd of 26,200 to reach a twelfth European Cup semi-final in 21 years.

The two-time winners will now face either Saracens or Glasgow Warriors in the semi-final on the weekend of April 22-23.

Munster’s win came at a cost, however, as Irish internationals Peter O’Mahony, Keith Earls and CJ Stander were forced out of the game with injuries.

The injury toll added to the loss of scrum-half Conor Murray before kick-off as the scrum-half failed to recover from a shoulder injury, despite being named in the starting team on Friday afternoon.

Speaking on the injuries, Rassie Erasmus said: “Three weeks ago he (Conor Murray) almost played for Ireland. It’s a waiting game, a matter of him getting more power into his arm.

“We thought until Friday’s Captain’s Run he’d make it. But he’s not 34, it’s not his last game and hopefully he’ll be back soon.

“Keith (Earls) I don’t think it’s serious, it’s back pain, CJ hurt his ankle, Peter was a massive blow to his upper thigh. A dead leg, a massive dead leg.

“The tough thing for us is to manage the squad. We have to manage the games, we’re in a semi-final and the upcoming (Pro12 games) we’ll have to rest players here and there.

“We’ll keep Europe in the back of our heads. Hopefully those guys will be available, I’m not sure."

Should Saracens get the better of Glasgow in Sunday’s quarter-final, then Munster’s semi-final will be staged at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

However, a Glasgow win in the quarter-final would result in Munster travelling to Murrayfield to face the Scottish side.