Munster's Howlett and Jones ruled out for February

Munster backline duo Doug Howlett and Felix Jones have been ruled out of action for February after both underwent minor knee scopes last week.

Munster decided to use the relatively quiet period in their fixture list ahead of the RBS Six Nations to get the players checked out and are confident both will be back on the training pitch in March.

Meanwhile Stephen Archer, who limped out of the Musgrave Park game against Cardiff with a dead leg and as a result missed Heineken Cup rounds five and six, is expected back training next week, although he is considered doubtful for the Edinburgh game.

James Downey (rib cartilage) is also well on the road to recovery but like Archer may find that the Edinburgh game on Saturday week a little too soon for him.

Sean Scanlon (back) and Barry O'Mahony (groin) would be expected to resume training in three to four weeks while Niall Ronan and Luke O'Dea should both be involved in limited training next week hopeful of a return to action sometime later in February.

Danny Barnes who bruised ribs in the British & Irish win over Plymouth Albion a fortnight ago is on the light-training list this week and Dave O'Callaghan (knee) injured in the same game will have his progress monitored on a weekly basis before a decision on his return is made.

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