New Munster boss Rob Penney has been handed a slice of good news ahead of his inaugural RaboDirect PRO12 campaign after winger Doug Howlett returned to training.
The former All Black made eight appearances in the RaboDirect PRO12 at the start of the season but then did not feature after the clash against the Ospreys in early December when he damaged his Achilles.
His attacking threat was sorely missed by Munster who were well beaten by the Ospreys in the RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final.
But indications are that Howlett will be available for Munster’s pre-season games and there is further positive developments on the injury front for the 2011 champions.
Fellow wing John Murphy and hooker Duncan Williams has recovered from ankle problems while Duncan Williams has overcome a hip complaint and Dave Foley a shoulder injury so all four are set to take part in those pre-season fixtures.
Inspirational leader Paul O'Connell is also reported to be making steady progress with a view to a return to training at the end of the month having missed Ireland’s summer tour to New Zealand while Ian Nagle (shoulder), Felix Jones (shoulder) and Troy Smith (knee) are expected to make a return to action towards the end of the autumn.
The squad are into week two of their pre-season under the guidance of head of fitness Bryce Cavanagh and coaches Anthony Foley, Ian Costello, Paul McCarthy, Bryce Cavanagh and team manager Niall O'Donovan who officially assumed his new role on Monday.