Troubling times for Munster as injuries abound

Munster after their away defeat at the Sportsground in Galway. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach.

WINNING games with late scores has been Munster’s forte in recent seasons, but now it appears that the tables are turning.

In four of their recent fixtures – against Bayonne, Exeter, Leinster, and Connacht – Munster have worryingly conceded key points in the closing stages.

The New Year’s Day trip west provided more headaches for the coaching staff, with Oli Jaeger and Jack O’Donoghue both stretchered-off the Sportsground 4G surface in the opening half.

Earlier in the week, forwards coach Andi Kynacou spoke of the overcrowding of the club’s physio room, remarking that “there is a spike in the number of injuries but there is no talk of new signings at this point”.

Now, he can add two more at least to the list as Eoghan Clarke and lock Fineen Wycherley were both ruled-out shortly before kick-off.

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Despite the gloom of another defeat (22-9), there were some good points from Munster’s performance with out-half Tony Butler looking comfortable at 10, and contributing all of his side’s points through three penalties.

Simon Zebo had his moments too, but there appears to be a lack of finish from the pack who have failed in recent outings to make that precious metre count when in sight of the whitewash.

January is always a testing point and Munster are now faced with a difficult challenge.

They are in joint 10th place with Connacht in the BKT URC after nine rounds and their next game in this league is away to the Scarlets on February 16.

In between, there are Investec Cup matches away to Toulon, who are third in their French Top 14, on Saturday week (January 13) and then a home tie against Northampton a week later in Thomond Park.

It has been a difficult few weeks for the coaching staff and the players who train at a high tempo of stress and now find themselves facing further testing times.