After a year out through injury Munster captain Peter O’Mahony won’t be rushed back into action, says director of rugby Johan Erasmus.
The Ireland forward has been sidelined with a knee injury since last year’s World Cup match against France.
Munster yesterday confirmed that the 27-year-old had returned to modified training with the squad.
Flanker O’Mahony had eyed up a return to action by week three of the Pro12, which saw Munster defeat the Dragons on Saturday.
However, Erasmus insists there’s nothing to be gained by throwing O’Mahony into the fold too soon.
"We are just being over-cautious,” the South African said in the Irish Independent.
“We have got a bulk of loose forwards fit and available and playing well. I'd rather take a week or so longer. There is no setback with him.
“He was thinking game three or four, but because the guys are fit and playing really well, why risk him?
“A guy like him will always be missed on the field, but we might even stretch till after next week.
"But listen, he is taking part in mauling, in scrumming and everything.
“We've got an opportunity to be cautious here and we are taking it that way. Also we would like him to be fit next year come May so we would like to make sure that he is 100%, almost like we did with Tyler [Bleyendaal] now.
“I think we have learned our lessons previously with Tyler. If we had another week we would wait another week."
Munster host Edinburgh in Thomond Park on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.