Munster boost as Jaco Taute closes in on return to action

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Munster boost as Jaco Taute closes in on return to action

Munster centre Jaco Taute, pictured here scoring against Leinster in the Pro14, is closing in on a return to action with the province after long-term injury

MUNSTER have received a boost ahead of the start of the new Guinness Pro14 season this weekend with confirmation that South African centre Jaco Taute is closing in on a return to action.

Three-time capped Springbok Taute has been sidelined for almost 12 months after suffering knee ligament damage against Cardiff Blues last September.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan said 27-year-old Taute could feature in this weekend’s Pro14 opener against the Cheetahs at Thomond Park on Saturday, 5.15pm.

However, Van Graan stressed that Munster would not rush the South African back.

Van Graan said: “Jaco Taute might become available for selection (this weekend). We'll see how his game fitness is.

"He has come back from a big injury, so it went up and down, mostly very good. With the extent of the injury he has had, he is in line with his timing back. Again, like I have said, a player's welfare is very important to me."

While Taute’s impending return is a boost for Munster, both centre Chris Farrell and out-half Tyler Bleyendaal remain some way off returning to action.

Asked about a possible return date for both players, Van Graan said: “No, nothing new there on the two of them. Chris (Farrell), because it was such a big knee injury, we are still a long way out.

"Tyler is improving day by day, but it is impossible to tell when he will be back. He hasn’t even trained with the team so I don’t have an update on that.”