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Published: 13:58 | 15/4/19

Carbery unlikely to face Saracens

Johann van Graan admits Joey Carbery is 'highly unlikely' to be fit for Munster's Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens.

Carbery was passed fit to start the province's Champions Cup quarter-final win over Edinburgh after recovering from the hamstring injury that saw him miss the majority of Ireland's Six Nations campaign, but just 35 minutes into his reappearance he suffered a recurrence of the injury.

He is struggling to recover and looks almost certain to miss the trip to Coventry on Saturday, with Tyler Bleyendaal set to come start at out-half for the last four clash.

“It’s still highly unlikely,” Van Graan confirmed. “We’ll just take it day by day and then make a final call later in the week. Like I said last week, we won’t take any chances with him. If he’s ready, he’s ready. If he’s not, then we won’t take that chance.”

Keith Earls and Jean Kleyn are expected to return to full training ahead of the game as they continue their recoveries from the minor injuries they sustained earlier this month.

Munster were beaten by Saracens in the last four two years ago before finding Racing 92 too stron 12 months ago but Van Graan is pleased with the form of his team after wins against Cardiff and Benetton.

"It's a totally new game," the Munster head coach added. "Two years is a very long time in rugby, a week is a very long time in rugby. So, I think we'll just look at where we are at the moment and build from the previous performances.

"I thought the team played really well against Cardiff and a lot of changes in the team against Treviso. We'll start again this week building up to a massive European semi-final."

On last year's semi-final defeat, he went on: "We addressed it last season in our review. Took the learnings that we could.

"Now we are 11 and a half months, almost 12 months forward from that time, so, if we win at the weekend, then everyone will say we've learnt our lessons and if we lose, people will say we haven't.

"Our focus is on ourselves, it's a once-off game. What happens on Saturday has got nothing to do with previous years.

"It's different opposition, a different referee, two total different teams. Like I said, you have to embrace weeks like this and we're looking forward to it."

Munster play Saracens in the Champions Cup semi-final on Saturday, 20 April live on BT Sport on the eir sport pack [kick-off 3.15pm]. Subscribe here.

Image: Inpho Photography

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