Munster Rugby return to action on Friday

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Munster Rugby return to action on Friday

Limerick face Connacht in Galway on Friday in an interprovincial challenge fixture

THE Munster Rugby squad returned to training on Tuesday as their focus switches to this Friday's challenge fixture with Connacht in Galway.

The game is a warm-up fixture for Munster ahead of the resumption of their Guinness PRO14 season later this month. The Munster players returned to their High Performance Centre at UL on Tuesday following a week off as the start of the Guinness Six Nations Championship took centre stage.

Munster will face Connacht at 1pm on this Friday, February 12, in an interprovincial challenge match at the Sportsground in Galway.

The fixture has been scheduled to give players game time as Munster have no competitive outing in the Guinness PRO14 until the clash against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Saturday, February 20 (7.35pm).

Munster and Connacht faced off twice before the start of this season with Munster coming out on top in both entertaining encounters that proved valuable warm-up fixtures for the current season.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan said: “We will play the game against Connacht with some guys who really haven’t had gametime and then refocus for the final push of the season which is four more months of rugby so really looking forward to the break now.”

Munster confirmed this week that Limerick man Dan Goggin underwent surgery last Thursday for a hand injury sustained in the victory over Benetton at the end of January. The centre will now undergo rehab with an expected return to play in 7-8 weeks.

The IRFU confirmed earlier this week that Munster back-rower Gavin Coombes has returned to train with Munster after spending some time with the national squad last week.

Conference B table toppers Munster enjoy a 10-point advantage over second-placed Connacht in the Guinness PRO14 table at present.

Following the February 20 clash with Edinburgh in Murrayfield, Johnann van Graan's charges have a six-day turnaround before a Friday, February 26 meeting with Cardiff at the Arms Park, 8pm.
Munster will then play their first home fixture in six weeks when Conference B rivals Connacht visit Thomond Park on Friday, March 5, 7.35pm.

That will be the first of three successive home fixtures for Munster as the Scarlets visit Limerick on Friday, March 12, 8pm, before Benetton Rugby are at Thomond Park on Friday, March 19 for a 6pm kick-off.