MUNSTER COACH JOHANN van Graan says he replaced Chris Farrell after 18 minutes of Munster’s bonus point win over Kings last night as a precaution, but that he was in pain due to a knee injury.
Farrell played a key role in the build up to Munster’s opening try at Musgrave Park, but sustained a bang to his knee when he carried close to the line.
He was replaced before play restarted, and a week out from Ireland’s Six Nations trip to Rome to face Italy the fitness of the powerful centre will be a big concern for Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.
Yesterday, Andy Farrell said Robbie Henshaw was expected to train next week, but Garry Ringrose remains firmly among those ‘being assessed’ after his hamstring injury. Connacht’s Tom Farrell will play against the Cheetahs today, and could become a live option for Schmidt in Italy.
According to van Graan Farrell will be assessed by the Munster medical team before he is due to link up with the Ireland squad again on Sunday.
“It was with that first try. He got a hit and he turned and it looks like the inside of his knee,” said van Graan.
“Look, it was a bit of precaution but he also had a bit of pain so we just took him off straight away.
“The medical side will assess him. He is such an important player not only for us but for Joe and Ireland as well.”
The game was played in very windy and wet conditions in Cork and at times both teams struggled with the conditions and individual errors marred the first half in particular.
Neil Cronin claimed the first try and the impressive Andrew Conway scored their second before half-time, and van Graan was impressed with Conway on his return to fitness.
Munster celebrate. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
“I thought we were very average in that first-half but there was a brilliant response from the players in the second half. We’re glad to come away with the points.
“I thought Bomber [Conway] was excellent tonight. I actually thought the whole back three, Sweets [Darren Sweetnam] and Mike (Haley) was really exceptional in these conditions.
“I thought the longer the game went, Rory Scannell and Dan Goggin got us over the gain line and we got some go-forward ball.
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“We knew we had to win first against Kings. We haven’t played for three weeks and they have been playing very good rugby. I thought when we scored our fourth try we’d be happy with the bonus point.”
It was Sweetnam that crossed for Munster’s third try in the 54th minute before they ground down their visitors in the final quarter with four more tries from Billy Holland, Rhys Marshall, Jean Kleyn and Rory Scannell.
“I thought our scrum went very well in the whole game, Niall Scannell, John Ryan and Jeremy Loughman did really well there.
“I thought the maul in the second-half went really well and I thought we got some continuity in the second-half which was important especially against the wind.
“Playing two or three phases in the second-half and kicking it in behind them worked well.”
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