Johann Van Graan On Munster’s Outhalf Situation Ahead Of Must-Win Game Against Racing 92
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Munster head coach Johann van Graan says outhalf JJ Hanrahan is “50/50” for this weekend’s must-win Champions Cup fixture away to Racing 92 this weekend.
Joey Carbery will not be available for selection this weekend with van Graan noting he will be out for a “considerable amount of time” following surgery on a wrist ligament injury picked up in the defeat to Ulster last weekend.
And with Tyler Bleyendaal also indefinitely sidelined the Munster boss has revealed they will likely go with youngster Ben Healy or centre Rory Scannell at ten this weekend as they look to keep their hopes of a place in the knockout stages in the Champions Cup alive with a win in Paris.
“We just trained there. He [Hanrahan] did a bit of the team training and his real test with be on Friday. If he comes through he will play the weekend. I won’t risk him if the medical team doesn’t say he is 100% right,” van Graan said.
“If he doesn’t [come through] we’re gonna back Ben [Healy] and Rory [Scannell]. We’ll make a decision on one of the two of them [to start]. We’ve backed our squad the whole way, hopefully, he [Hanrahan] makes it but we’ve been in this position before and we’ll just back the next man in.”
When asked to expand more on the likelihood of Hanrahan playing, van Graan said “50/50” is a fair percentage.
“I’d say 50/50 is a good way to put it,” van Graan added
“The most important thing is he wants to be ready. He’s an experienced ten, he knows that the team needs him for possibly 80 minutes so he knows that he needs to be 100% right to perform.
“He’ll always put the team first. If he’s ready on Friday and his body is ready he’ll tell us he’s ready – if not he’ll put the team first and then it’s the next man up. Like I said we as a group will back whoever comes in. Ben [Healy] has grown a lot over the last few weeks and Rory has trained there. We’ve been in this position for quite a bit, we’ve literally had one flyhalf [all season].”
We also asked van Graan is he plans on bringing some cover in at ten with Carbery and Bleyendaal sidelined indefinitely and it looks like Munster will not go out into the market and will instead back the current squad, including U20s star Jake Flannery.
“No, not all,” van Graan said when we asked if Munster are actively looking for cover at ten.
“We’re gonna back Ben [Healy] and Jake Flannery is someone who has not been spoken about at all. He’s also been out since the U20 World Cup and he is certainly someone for the future. He can play 10 and 15 and he did a bit of training last week and he is actually in full training this week so you’ve gotta back your young guys. They’re certainly two potential guys we’ve for the future. And if we can get them opportunities on the pitch we will and that’s someone [Flannery] I’m very excited about.”
And in other injury news, a decision will be made on Andrew Conway this Friday, with the winger still a major doubt but van Graan expects Mike Haley to be fit for the trip to Paris.