/ Rugby

O'Connell to see specialist over knee injury

Updated: Monday, 07 May 2012 14:30

Munster captain Paul O'Connell after suffering a knee injury in the clash with Ulster
Munster captain Paul O'Connell after suffering a knee injury in the clash with Ulster

Munster will take on the Ospreys in the first RaboDirect Pro12 League semi-final at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night but they are likely to be without captain Paul O’Connell for the clash.

Munster beat Ulster 36-8 at Thomond Park on Friday night to secure a semi-final meeting with the Welsh region.

The match will be shown live on RTÉ Two on Friday night, with League leaders Leinster set to take on fourth-placed finishers Glasgow in the second semi-final on Saturday evening. That match will be screened live on TG4.

A statement from Munster said that O'Connell, and hooker Damien Varley who was also injured during the match, were rated "unlikely" to feature in the semi-final.

Varley picked up an ankle injury late in the game after replacing Mike Sherry in the second half.

The Munster statement said: "Medical examination this (Sunday) morning showed Varley had suffered an ankle sprain but O'Connell will need to see a specialist later in the week to determine the exact nature of his injury.

"Both have been ruled out or both are considered doubtful for Munster's semi final next Friday."

There was some positive news for the province this morning with out-half Ronan O'Gara expected to resume training this week weak and considered to be in contention to play in the final.

His understudy Ian Keatley, a late withdrawal from Saturday night's match after picking up a knock in training on Thursday, is also in contention to play.

But Munster will anxiously await a full assessment of talismanic second row O’Connell’s apparent knee injury. The 32-year-old missed the second half of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations campaign with a knee injury and only returned in early April.

He was helped off the field after getting into an awkward position at a ruck early in the second half of the match. Munster lost David Wallace to retirement, prompted by a serious knee injury, last week.

Ulster back Ian Humphreys, who left the field apparently dazed late in the second half, is also an injury concern ahead of his province’s Heineken Cup final date with Leinster on 19 May.

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