Munster Without Talisman Paul O'Connell for the Remainder of the Group Stages

Peter CollinsContributor IDecember 10, 2012

Paul O'Connell
Paul O'ConnellTeaukura Moetaua/Getty Images

It has been confirmed that Munster will have to do without Paul O’Connell until January at the earliest, and for the remainder of the Heineken Cup Group Stage.

The Irish international has been out for over a month with a persistent knee injury which kept him out of the disaster of a summer tour of New Zealand and the early part of this season. However, O’Connell did return to full training with the Irish squad for the Autumn Series but was again ruled out after a long-term back injury flared up again.

O’Connell’s last competitive match was in the Heineken Cup against Edinburgh, last year’s semi-finalists. It seems the Munster talisman will have to miss the rest of the group stages matches against Saracens this weekend, and Racing Metro and Edinburgh in the New Year.

The British and Irish Lions captain may have to go under the knife yet again to curtail this recurring back injury which is hampering his chances of making a comeback before next year’s Lions tour of Australia with the competition in second row becoming extremely fierce.