Zebo on the plane for South Africa
Munster’s bruised squad departs for South Africa today with Simon Zebo among a 28-player touring party for the two-game PRO14 tour.
Full-back Zebo limped out of Saturday’s Champions Cup quarter-final win over Toulon after 25 minutes, having been hurt in a first-minute collision with Chris Ashton but was named in Johann van Graan’s squad flying out of Dublin bound, via Dubai, for a training camp in Cape Town.
Munster play Southern Kings in George, hometown of Ireland No.8 CJ Stander, on Saturday and after a few days in Cape Town, travel to Bloemfontein for a game at altitude against the Cheetahs on Friday, April 13. The squad is due to arrive home the following Sunday to prepare for a Champions Cup semi-final against Racing 92 in Bordeaux.
In addition to the matchday 23 which faced Tou- lon, van Graan will also be taking Brian Scott, Dave O’callaghan, Conor Oliver, Dan Goggin, and academy player Calvin Nash on the tour but injured flanker Tommy O’donnell will not be on the plane having been ruled out for the rest of the season following shoulder surgery. O’donnell is the second openside flanker to suffer the fate alongside Chris Cloete and he joins a lengthy rehabilitation list also featuring Keith Earls, Tyler Bleyendaal, Duncan Williams, Jaco Taute, and Chris Farrell. Hooker Kevin O’byrne is another to stay at home having sustained a hip injury during Munster A’s British and Irish Cup quarter-final loss at Leinster A on Friday. Simon Zebo had been a doubt all week with a hamstring injury and his game was effectively over inside the first minute as he collided with Chris Ashton in averting a Toulon try. Zebo would play on for another 24 minutes before limping out. Munster will also have a concern over Conor Murray, who hobbled off on 77 minutes but head coach Johann van Graan said there were no serious issues, just a lot of battered bodies. Munster will have to plan for their Champions Cup semi-final in France on the weekend of April 21-22 from Cape Town, their base for the majority of a 12-day tour to South Africa. Munster will play PRO14 games against the Southern Kings in George next Saturday and the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein the following Friday.