Munster are ready for French test after South African adventure

Munster are ready for French test after South African adventure
The Munster team huddle prior to the Guinness PRO14 Round 20 match against Toyota Cheetahs. Picture: Johan Pretorius/Sportsfile

MUNSTER'S attention has now switched to Sunday afternoon and the Champions Cup showdown with Racing 92 in Bordeaux after their successful two-week trip to South Africa for two league games which saw them take nine points from a possible 10.

Van Graan and his management team will now assess who they have available for next Sunday with concerns about scrum-half James Hart after he went off after a heavy hit on Saturday evening, while Jack O’Donoghue and Dan Goggin also took knocks.

On the plus side, loosehead James Cronin should be available after recovering from a shoulder stinger early in the game against the Kings, while there is an outside chance that the rehab work done by Keith Earls back in Limerick could see him return from the knee ligament injury picked up late in the Grand Slam win over England.

Meanwhile, Donncha O'Callaghan has announced his retirement from professional rugby.

O'Callaghan has said that his match with Worcester Warriors against Harlequins on April 28 will be his last as a player.

The 39-year-old has spoken previously of his intention to retire but has never given an exact date for his departure.

His family will be flying over from Cork to watch him as he bows out after an incredible 20-year career.

O'Callaghan has 94 Ireland caps and was part of two Lions tours.

Writing in The Times UK today, he explained that although he feels physically able to continue playing, the strain of living away from his wife and four children has taken a toll.

"A professional sportsman has to lead a selfish life, but it’s not fair on my family for me to keep doing this while precious time ebbs away with me in one country and they in another," O'Callaghan said.

"Axel’s death impacted us in so many ways, not least in the manner it drove home the reality that the existence we have is fleeting and can be taken without notice.

"Before that happens, whenever the day or the year, you have to know you’ve spent the time you had with the people who are the most important."

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