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03rd Oct 2017

Donnacha Ryan to miss Munster return and November internationals

Bitter blow for the Tipperary native

Patrick McCarry

This must be incredibly frustrating for the Ireland lock.

Joe Schmidt is set to be spared a tough decision, next month, as Donnacha Ryan is unlikely to be fit for the Guinness Series internationals against South Africa, Fiji and Argentina.

Neck and shoulder issues have prevented the 33-year-old from making his Racing 92 debut, following his summer switch from Munster. The French club had been hoping to get him playing in early September but a set-back in training has now seen them take a more long-term approach with getting the second row fit.

It may now be late November/early December by the time Ryan lines out, competitively, in a Racing jersey.

Ryan’s fitness issues will certainly nix his playing return to Thomond Park, on October 21, and he looks set to watch Ireland’s November internationals from afar. Having featured in 19 out of Ireland’s last 29 Test matches [starting 10], Ryan’s presence in the camp will be sorely missed.

It is not clear whether or not Schmidt would have selected Ryan – he handed out summer Test debuts to locks James Ryan [Leinster] and Kieran Treadwell [Ulster] – but he now appears to have been spared the call.

The 33-year-old had reported on time for preseason training with his new side and spoke of his eagerness to get involved in the 2017/18 campaign. Early fitness issues were flagged, however.

Speaking about Ryan, on The Hard Yards, earlier this season, Racing coach Ronan O’Gara said:

“He’s struggling with a neck injury and his body is fairly battered from taking a pounding over the last number of years. At the moment, he’s being managed.”

O’Gara added, “But he has a good attitude. I haven’t partaken in any of his French lessons but I’m looking forward to the Nenagh accent coming out! I thought the Cork accent was tough but Donners Ryan will take it to a whole new level.

“But he’s up for it. He’s a closet nerd, you know. I think he’s studying away… You have to have a basic level of French and he’s keen.”

Ryan will have more time for his lessons now but he will be desperate to get out on the field and start contributing to Racing’s domestic and European campaigns. Racing host Munster on the weekend of January 12-14 so there may be a reunion with Ryan’s old teammates, later rather than sooner.

We contacted Racing 92 for a full update on Ryan’s fitness but, at time of publishing, none was forthcoming.

Following Paul O’Connell’s career-ending injury after signing to play for Toulon, in 2015, Racing will take all the time necessary to get their Irish lock back in working order.

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