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Chris Farrell ruled out of Munster's trip to Ulster

Chris Farrell will again be an absentee when Munster travel to Kingspan Stadium, Belfast for Friday night’s Guinness Pro 14 clash with Ulster.

Farrell, a native of Ulster, has been desperately unfortunate with injuries, having been sidelined for eight months with a badly damaged ACL knee ligament and missed both of Munster’s European Cup games against Castres with quad trouble.

“Chris won’t make it for this weekend but there is a chance he could be back for the game against Leinster after Christmas,” said head coach Johann van Grann this morning.

However, there is better news of several players battling their way back from long-term injuries. South African second-row Jean Kleyn has recovered from a ligament injury to his thumb suffered against the Cheetahs in early November and will be in the side to take on a vastly improved Ulster side on Friday. Centre Dan Goggin should also figure in the matchday 23 having shaken off a leg injury and the same goes for Darren Sweetnam who sustained a back injury when playing for Ireland against the USA last month.

After Saturday’s disappointing performance against Castres, Van Graan stressed the importance of a massive programme in the matches lying in wait – three successive Interprovincials against Ulster (away), Leinster at a sold-out Thomond Park on December 29 and Connacht (away) followed by European Cup ties away to Gloucester and at home to Exeter.

That being the case, Van Graan hinted that he will be mixing and matching his players for the most part with the near certainty of skipper Peter O’Mahony, Keith Earls, Conor Murray, CJ Stander and Tadhg Beirne missing out on the visit to Belfast.