Keith Earls and Niall Scannell in Munster fold for Leicester

Johann van Graan receives a timely boost ahead of return fixture at Welford Road

Munster’s Keith Earls during training ahead of their Champions Cup clash with Leicester Tigers. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Munster’s Keith Earls during training ahead of their Champions Cup clash with Leicester Tigers. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Munster have been boosted by the return to full training yesterday of Keith Earls and Niall Scannell, with loosehead James Cronin also returning to modified training, in advance of next Sunday’s huge European Champions Cup rematch with Leicester Tigers at Welford Road (kick-off 5.30pm, live on BT Sport).

Earls has been injured since the beginning of November window due to a hamstring injury he picked up at camp with the Irish squad, while similarly Scannell has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on a thumb injury suffered away to Castres in October. Cronin suffered a calf injury when playing for the Barbarians against Tonga last month.

Rhys Marshall and Andrew Conway are observing the return to play protocols after suffering concussion in last Saturday’s 33-10 win over the Tigers and new head coach Johann van Graan said: “Andrew is still recovering from his HIA and so is Rhys Marshall. Keats [Ian Keatley] picked up a bump in the game but he should be fine. Niall Scannell is returning to training today and hopefully he goes well. Keith Earls is returning to training today and James Cronin will be returning to certain parts of the session. At least there’s a few guys coming back as well.

As to whether Scannell and Earls could be in contention for Sunday’s game, van Graan said: “We’ll see how they go today and we’ll reassess how they’re going later in the week. They might be in the 23 or they might play in the A team game or they might not play. I don’t want to speculate at this stage.”

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