Munster receive Stander fitness boost for Champions Cup semi-final

CJ Stander suffered an ankle injury in Munster's European quarter-final win over Toulouse
CJ Stander suffered an ankle injury in Munster's European quarter-final win over Toulouse

Munster have received a boost with the news that CJ Stander has returned to training as they prepare to face Saracens in their Champions Cup semi-final at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Stander suffered an ankle injury in the quarter-final victory over Toulouse but could feature in the Dublin encounter.

Conor Murray looks very doubtful however as he continues to struggle to overcome his shoulder injury.

Centre Rory Scannell's ankle problem is not as bad as first feared.

Scannell was forced to retire hurt after 66 minutes of his side's 22-20 Pro12 win over Ulster on Saturday, while Darren Sweetnam is following the return to play protocols after suffering a concussion in the opening minute.

Scannell sustained an ankle sprain and his progress will be monitored throughout the week.

Duncan Williams, who was a late withdrawal from the match-day squad for the Thomond Park interprovincial derby due to a tight groin, took a full part in training on Monday.

Murray remains an unlikely starter for the match against the European and Premiership champions as he continues his recovery from a 'stinger' injury which has kept him out of action since Ireland's Six Nations game with Wales on 10 March.

Munster are aiming to reach their first final for nine years, having lifted the Heineken Cup by beating Toulouse at the Millennium Stadium in 2008.

On Sunday. Saracens started only four of their European Cup quarter-final line-up that thrashed Glasgow, with Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Mako Vunipola, Brad Barritt and Richard Wigglesworth among those rested.

Billy Vunipola and Chris Ashton were called into the fray from the bench in a 27-25 comeback success over Northampton, while George Kruis returned for the first time since December.

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