Munster head coach Johann Van Graan has struck a cautious and conservative note when speaking about Joey Carbery's possible return to the province's starting XV.

The out-half returned to action on Friday night after a 13-month absence through injury, being introduced as a second-half substitute in Munster's 20-11 win away to Cardiff. 

However, Van Graan stressed it was early days yet, insisting that it wouldn't be wise to throw him into the starting team immediately. 

"We'll take our time with Joey. Each week will be different with him," the Munster head coach told RTÉ Sport.

"To put it in context, he's only done squad training up until Friday night. On Friday night, it was an actual game scenario when you can get hit blindly.

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"He recovered pretty well in that game. We've said it all along, we'll take it week by week with Joey. It's first of all how he feels and then taking the guidance from the medical team and the athletic performance team. 

"There's also a bigger picture. It's going to be no good to anybody if we just throw him in straight away, in terms of minutes.

"He'll take his time over the coming weeks."

The return of Carbery, long touted as the heir apparent to Johnny Sexton in the Ireland 10 jersey, was widely anticipated by Munster and Ireland fans, but Van Graan was quick to play up his alternative options at out-half. 

"The other thing I'd like to say is that we've got JJ (Hanrahan) who's played very good rugby. Ben Healy has had some fantastic moments. 

"And then you've got two guys pushing from behind in Jack Crowley and Jack Flannery that will get minutes in the coming months as well. 

"So, we will do what's the best for Joey, what's the best for the team and for all the 10s involved. 

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