Van Graan has ‘no regrets’ over Joey Carbery selection

Recurring hamstring injury puts Munster player in doubt for semi-final against Saracens

Munster’s Joey Carbery and John Barclay of Edinburgh in their Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final match at Murrayfield on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Munster’s Joey Carbery and John Barclay of Edinburgh in their Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final match at Murrayfield on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Munster coach Johann van Graan says he has no regrets about selecting Joey Carbery for last weekend’s Champions Cup victory over Edinburgh after he limped off with a recurrence of a hamstring injury, which threatens his participation in the semi-final against Saracens.

Carbery had missed the previous seven weeks of action after he damaged his left hamstring after Ireland’s Six Nations win over Scotland, but, after proving his fitness last week, the playmaker limped off after 36 minutes at Murrayfield.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan: ‘He was perfect at training . . . there was no sign of anything.’ Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Munster head coach Johann van Graan: ‘He was perfect at training . . . there was no sign of anything.’ Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Munster had no update on Carbery’s prognosis on Monday, but he was scheduled to undergo further tests to discover the extent of the problem. With just 18 days to go before Munster face Saracens in the Champions Cup semi-final in Coventry [Saturday April 20th], Carbery must be a doubt, but van Graan does not regret selecting him last Saturday.

“He was perfect the whole week. He did everything that our medical team asked him to do. He trained the whole week, full out. There was no sign of anything,” said van Graan.

‘No indication’

“I think you saw the beginning of the game, he went up for that high ball, made his tackles, kicked a goal so there was no indication that something might happen. So from our side no regrets, there was no sign of anything, he was 100 per cent confident that he was ready to go, so that’s it.

Obviously it is a big concern from my side, but I can say he will definitely not be ready for this weekend

“It is very early to say [how bad the injury is]. Obviously, the fact that he came off in the first half is a big concern from our side. He will go through some more tests with our medical team today.

“Obviously I am not going to put a timeframe on it. He was out six weeks the previous time, it is difficult to say at this stage because it is a hamstring, whether it’s worse or it is less, so we will just take it from day to day.

“Obviously it is a big concern from my side, but I can say he will definitely not be ready for this weekend.”

Joey Carbery sits out Munster Rugby Training in UL, Limerick on Monday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Joey Carbery sits out Munster Rugby Training in UL, Limerick on Monday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

That win over Edinburgh was only wrapped up in the final 10 minutes after Munster had trailed for most of the second half, but lock Tadhg Beirne has been criticised in some quarters for his role in the awarding of a key penalty in the build-up to Munster’s match-winning try for Keith Earls.

Exaggerating

Beirne certainly deserved the penalty after Edinburgh’s prop Pierre Schoeman shouldered him off the ball, but the Munster secondrow has been accused of exaggerating the incident to earn the chance for his side.

Van Graan said he wasn’t aware of any comments targeting his player, but he felt his side deserved the penalty.

“I didn’t read any comments. All I know is number one from Edinburgh hit him [Beirne] off the ball and we received a penalty from the referee and we’ll move on from there,” said the Munster coach.

Munster were delighted with the win as it keeps their dreams of European and Pro14 glory alive, and considering the loss of Mike Haley to illness before kick-off, and Carbery and Jack O’Donoghue in the first half, it was a satisfying day. O’Donoghue failed a head injury assessment and is a doubt for Friday’s Pro14 clash with Cardiff in Cork, a game that Carbery will definitely miss.

Re-run

With just over a fortnight to go before they face Saracens, van Graan is looking for his side to continue to improve ahead of a re-run of the 2016 semi-final between the sides. Van Graan was impressed with their win over Glasgow at the weekend.

The way Saracens went about their business on Saturday afternoon was very clinical

“I actually watched it last night. It was a very good game of rugby, I’m very impressed by Saracens. Over the last eight or nine years they have been one of the European sides that have consistently been there, playing in finals, playing in semi-finals, quarter-finals.

“The way they went about their business on Saturday afternoon was very clinical. Even to lose someone like Owen Farrell before the game, Goode coming in there at 10, Liam Williams at 15, he picked up where he left off from the Six Nations, a pretty formidable side.

“To give Glasgow 50 points in a quarter-final takes some doing. Glasgow is one of the sides of Europe, so very impressive.”

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