Blow for Munster as Carbery ruled out for foreseeable future

Van Graan says outhalf needs time to fully recover from an ankle injury

Joey Carbery: “I honestly can’t say because I don’t know [when he will return],” said van Graan. “Because of the type of injury he is definitely not going to be back in the next few weeks.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Munster are set to suffer the most from Ireland's failed World Cup campaign as Joey Carbery's ankle injury is threatening to derail his second season in Limerick. There is no timeline for Carbery's return after he rushed back from ankle surgery in August to feature in Japan.

“Joey is going to be out for some time,” confirmed Munster coach Johann van Graan. “We got to make sure he gets his strength back and we get that ankle fully functional. When he is back we will try and get him on the field when he is ready.”

In the meantime, JJ Hanrahan and the now Irish-qualified Tyler Bleyendaal are sharing outhalf duties.

“I honestly can’t say because I don’t know [when he will return],” van Graan continued. “Because of the type of injury he is definitely not going to be back in the next few weeks I can tell you that.


“At this stage it is very difficult for the medical team to determine [a timeline].”

The 24-year-old has avoided another surgical procedure on the ankle but his selection for the Six Nations is now in doubt.

“No, they are not going that route. Because he has had it for quite a while the most important thing now is Joey’s health. He is a Munster player. He is under my watch now so we got to look after him. Get his ankle right. Make sure he is good.”

Carbery admitted after defeat to Japan in Shizuoka that he had been struggling for fitness.

“He is very important for the national team, I believe, for the future of Irish rugby. I am not the coach but I imagine Faz [new Ireland head coach Andy Farrell] will look at him.

“For Munster he is a game winner, that’s why we got him, that’s why we want him on the pitch but we don’t want him to play for a week and get injured again.

“Joey is one of our star players. The 25 out of 25 that he kicked last year showed that when he was on the field he made a big difference to our play. He did some very special things.

“At the back end of last season we didn’t have him for the [Saracens] semi-final and he literally came back against Leinster, played for 60 minutes and went into the national team, went to the World Cup that I am not going to comment on, but he came back to us now.”

Van Graan is still unable to confirm the arrivals next summer of two key figures in The Springboks World Cup-winning squad although talks with Damian de Allende and RG Snyman are at an advanced stage.

“I wouldn’t want to speculate any further until there is confirmation. Obviously we have spoken to both players and we have big dreams for the squad. If you want to win Europe and win the Pro 14 you need 30 to 40 guys who can perform at any stage. We have just seen over this season already you need depth.”

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent