Pre-season training is in full swing now around all four provinces. In the Ulster camp, two men who are as busy as ever as physiotherapists Gareth Robinson and Alan McCaldin, who are treating the players in preparation for the long season ahead.
Brian McLaughlin’s Ulster squad have ventured to Portugal this week for a warm weather training camp, ahead of their opening pre-season friendly against Bath at Ravenhill on Friday, August 13.
Ulster had a number of players who suffered injuries towards the end of last season, including Ireland internationals Rory Best, Stephen Ferris and Andrew Trimble.
In an interview with UlsterRugby.com, Ulster physio Gareth Robinson gave a rundown on the progress of those players.
“Rory has fully recovered from the ankle injury he picked up at the end of last season in the match against Connacht which prevented him from touring with Ireland in June, and is now back training with the squad,” he said.
“Stephen Ferris has been given the all-clear to return to rugby. He fractured a cheekbone in training in May which prevented him from touring with Ireland.
“Jamie (Smith) has had successful surgery to repair a fractured scaphoid (bone in wrist) which he damaged in the final game of last season against Connacht.”
Robinson added: “Simon (Danielli) had shoulder reconstruction following Scotland’s summer tour to Argentina and we would expect him to return to rugby mid to end October.
“And Bryn (Cunningham) will be commencing a rehab programme shortly. He had knee surgery twelve weeks ago.”
Cunningham’s back-line colleague Andrew Trimble, who featured for Ireland on the summer tour, went under the knife last Thursday to repair a finger injury.
Trimble is expected to be out of action for 10 to 12 weeks. He required surgery after suffering a fracture dislocation of a finger on his left hand, during Ireland’s Test defeat to New Zealand.