RONAN O’GARA IS hopeful that Dan Carter and centre Casey Laulala will be ready for the start of the Champions Cup in less than three weeks against his native Munster.
The Racing 92 pair had to go off injured in Saturday’s 31-23 loss away to Castres and could be doubtful for the visit of Munster to Paris for the opening round of the Champions Cup on Sunday fortnight.
Carter suffered a calf injury, former Munster centre Laulala injured his arm and both were replaced at half-time.
Carter has been troubled by calf injuries over the past few seasons and while he had to go off shortly after half-time in last season’s Champions Cup final loss to Saracens, the former All Black returned to play an integral part as Racing lifted the Top 14 crown for the first time in the professional era.
O’Gara, now in his fourth season with Racing 92 working with coaches Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers, said he was hopeful the injuries were not serious and that they would be back soon.
“Dan was very sore afterwards so we will see the extent of it. It didn’t look serious but you never know,” said O’Gara.
“Casey has to go for a scan to see if he has a torn tricep or it could have been just a bad blow on it. We just need to wait and see but he just couldn’t use his arm on Saturday and had to get off the pitch. It could be a three-day thing or it could be a few weeks, you just never know.”
Racing 92, the reigning Top 14 champions, travel to Brive next weekend and will then host Stade Francais in a Paris derby featuring the last two champions, before Munster arrive on 16 October.
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Racing have won all three home games and lost all three away in the defence of their crown but O’Gara, who signed a contract extension as defence and skills coach until 2019, sees signs of improvement.
“We’ve gone to tough enough places in terms of Bordeaux, Clermont and Castres. I thought there were encouraging signs in Castres,” he said.
“We were inaccurate with the ball and we gave them some cheap scores in defence but there was a lot of character shown I felt, losing Casey, losing Dan, but we knuckled down. Castres deserved to win but we could have taken a bonus point out of the place I guess.”
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