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Chris Farrell makes timely return to training to boost Munster's options Champions Cup opener

The big midfielder has missed the first few months of the campaign with an abdomen injury.
Chris Farrell of Munster. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Chris Farrell of Munster. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

MUNSTER's backline options have been strengthened by the return to training of Ireland centre Chris Farrell who looks set to make his first appearance of the season against Wasps on Sunday week.

The big midfielder has missed the first few months of the campaign with an abdomen injury, but has been training with the contingent of players who did not travel on Munster's ill-fated trip to South Africa this week which has ruled most of the senior squad out of training.

Academy coach Ian Costello has been taking sessions in the absence of the senior coaches, with a contingent of senior internationals being joined by academy players and members of the National and Provincial Talent squads.

Tighthead prop Roman Salanoa is "progressing closer to a return to training" according to Munster's update, while Academy full-back Jonathan Wren has also come back from injury.

Fourteen of the Munster squad are isolating in South Africa after the other 34 members of their travelling party returned home on Wednesday.

Those players, management and staff that did make it back are quarantining at home and in hotels in Ireland. However, they won't have trained with the team before they depart for England and, while one or two may make the bench, it seems more likely that Munster will be selecting from Costello's crew.

Munster look set to pick from the squad that has been training together, with Farrell making it possible to pick a very strong backline including Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Damian de Allende, Farrell, Andrew Conway and Keith Earls.

They still look a little light up front, with Dave Kilcoyne, Peter O'Mahony and Tadhg Beirne the only established senior forwards training, which means they'll be keen to get Salanoa back on the pitch.

John Hodnett (ankle), Calvin Nash (ankle), Rowan Osborne (head), Paddy Kelly (hamstring), Edwin Edogbo (achilles) and RG Snyman (knee) are all on the long-term injury list, while Conor Phillips is in Dubai with the Sevens team.

Munster have until Wednesday at 12pm to register any additional players to their squad ahead of their European opener against Wasps.

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