Joey Carbery is ‘highly unlikely’ to return for Saracens clash

Keith Earls and Jean Kleyn are expected to return to training

Joey Carbery during a Munster training session at UL. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Munster coach Johann van Graan confirmed that Joey Carbery is "highly unlikely" to be available for the province's Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens on Saturday but explained that there are no other major injury concerns.

Keith Earls and Jean Kleyn are expected to return to training on Monday afternoon or Tuesday, having been nursing minor knocks. Earls (thigh) was a late withdrawal prior to the Pro 14 game against Cardiff while Kleyn picked up a leg injury in that match.

Van Graan admitted: “It’s still highly unlikely [\that Carbery will be available]. We’ll just take it day by day and then make a final call later in the week. Like I said last week, we won’t take any chances with him. If he’s ready, he’s ready. If he’s not then we won’t take that chance.”

Van Graan was asked in a television interview with Virgin Media’s Sinead Kissane whether he would consider adding to the coaching ticket and whether that might include Paul O’Connell, who finishes up with Stade Français at the end of the season, or Ronan O’Gara, currently with Super Rugby champions, the Crusaders.


“We’re always open to adding some additional personnel. We’ll finish the year first and then make our decisions after. Ah, nothing’s ever impossible. Paulie is doing some great work with Stade Français and he’s finishing up.

“Rog has been absolutely fantastic at Crusaders and he’s possibly the most sought-after coach in the world, if I’m not mistaken. I’ve been in constant contact with them, but there are a lot of quality coaches all over the world and we’ll do what’s the best for Munster.

“Look, they’re fantastic people and fantastic coaches. We’re all on different journeys in our coaching paths, so I wouldn’t say, yes or no, to that. We’ll see what the future holds.”

The Munster coach also outlined the size of the task facing his side against a side that beat them two years ago at the same stage of the tournament. “Yeah, they’ve been the team of the Champions Cup thus far, haven’t lost a game yet, played some fantastic rugby and scored the most tries.

“They’ve got a lot of world-class players so we’re definitely up against a massive challenge away from home on Saturday afternoon. If you get into the last four of Europe, it’s not supposed to be easy. We’re looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to measuring ourselves against one of the top teams.”