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Injury rules Shaun Payneout for Munster's Heineken Cup clash with Llanelli
Inpho/Bily Stickland
Payne To Miss Llanelli Game
3 March 2007, 2:14 pm
By Pat Geraghty
It has been confirmed that Shaun Payne will not be available to Munster for the next six weeks having broken a metacarpal in his hand in the course of the opening half against Cardiff Blues last Friday night
That of course means that Payne is ruled out of Munster's Magners League game against Ulster on Friday fortnight and the Heineken Cup No ALT tag specifiedquarter-final meeting with Llanelli Scarlets a week later. The disappointing news of Payne's unavailability is tempered by the recent return from injury of Christian Cullen who has been the regular 15 in the Magners League since starting in the game against Connacht at the end of December.

Indeed Cullen celebrated his return that day with a try. Last Friday it was his chip 'n chase and subsequent quick line-out throw that almost yielded a try for John Kelly while the quiet New Zealander - save for one spill late in the game - was Payne-like under the many garryowens launched his way.

Further bad news on the injury front is that the groin injury Federico Pucciariello picked up in that game will rule him out for four weeks and that makes him extremely doubtful for the Heineken Cup quarterfinal trip to Stradey.

Darragh Hurley who was also injured aginst the Blues is understood to have suffered what is termed 'soft tissue' injury (probably 'bruising' in mere mortal lingo) and he is expected to be available for the Ulster game.No ALT tag specified

Progress in both Anthony Foley (leg) and Anthony Horgan's (achilles) case is slow and neither look likely to feature in Declan Kidney's plans for the Welsh trip.

ERC regulations allow all clubs to add three additional players to their squads for the knockout stgaes of the competition. The deadline for doing so is March 15th and the current injury situation will dictate who those players will be.

However it would seem that Denis Fogarty will be one of those added to Munster's squad. Fogarty, who was a member of the Ireland Under 21 side beaten in the World Cup final in Scotland two years ago, was on the bench for Munster in the Heineken Cup final last year. A shoulder injury and subsequent operation had him sidelined this term and he only made his return to action as a late second half replacement in the game against Cardiff Blues last Friday night.

Given the injury to Pucciariello who gave cover at hooker for Munster, Fogarty couldn't have timed his return any better.

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