herald

Monday 18 November 2019

O'Mahony a worry for Munster

Peter O'Mahony
Peter O'Mahony

It is interesting to note the divergent approaches of Munster and Leinster ahead of the Champions Cup semi-finals.

Leo Cullen retained just two starters from that barnstormer against Ulster on Saturday evening.

In contrast, Munster coach Johann van Graan went out locked and loaded against Cardiff Blues, six days after their quarter-final.

Keith Earls didn't even make it as far as the starting line, feeling a tightness in his leg in the warm-up.

Worse again, Peter O'Mahony was forced to withdraw with a shoulder problem, leaving Munster reduced to 14 men and lock Jean Kleyn limped away from the action.

Conor Murray received a golf-ball of a bump on his forehead from an accidental clash of heads.

He was temporarily removed from the pitch, passing a head Injury Assessment before his return to the game.

"It was pretty important that we get the win, make sure we qualify for the Pro14 play-offs, make sure we qualify for Europe next season," said Van Graan.

There will be many changes made for Edinburgh on Friday.

Connacht, menawhile , can secure automatic qualification into the Champions Cup against Cardiff Blues next Saturday.

The Western Province, in third, will host the Welsh Blues, in fourth, in Conference A with a PRO14 League quarter-final play-off place also on the line for the province.

They have four points to spare over Cardiff after surviving a scare at Zebre (6-5) for their first away win in the League since December.

Connacht got out of Italy with just centre Tom Farrell suffering what coach Andy Friend called "a poke in the eye."

"I think we got out of that game pretty clean and now we move on," he said.

There should be a raucous atmosphere at the Sportsground with Ireland internationals Bundee Aki and Quinn Roux set to return.

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