Ulster lock Dan Tuohy suffered a thumb injury during last Sunday’s GUINNESS PRO12 victory away to Benetton Treviso. He will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament tomorrow and is expected to be out of rugby for up to eight weeks.
Prop Wiehahn Herbst sustained a hamstring injury in the 24-20 win over the Italians. He will miss this weekend’s European Champions Cup round 5 match against Toulon in France.
Meanwhile, Ireland-capped centre Luke Marshall suffered concussion in a training session last week. He is currently following the return-to-play protocols.
Fellow international Iain Henderson continues to make progress with the hip injury that he sustained in September. He has taken part in some light training and is expected to be available for selection in the coming weeks.
Chris Henry’s rehabilitation from the heart surgery that he had in November is ongoing, while his back row colleague Nick Williams continues his rehab from a hamstring injury. He is expected to be available for selection before the end of this month.
The province have also confirmed that their Kiwi second row Ronald Raymaakers has a hamstring strain and is undergoing rehab, while prop Ruaidhri Murphy has recovered from the finger injury that he sustained playing club rugby for Ballynahinch in November.
In the backs division, Stuart McCloskey continues his recovery from elbow surgery. He is expected to return to rugby in the next six to eight weeks.
Andrew Trimble is continuing his rehabilitation from toe surgery. His target is to return to action in mid-February. Ricky Andrew has a perforated eardrum and therefore is not available for selection this weekend.
The Ulstermen may have recorded a win in Italy against Treviso, but having been 24-0 up there was frustration that the province did not go on and record a bonus point and that by the end, Treviso were back in the game.
It was a second half performance that disappointed Ulster captain Rory Best (pictured above), especially as his side had played so well in the opening 35 minutes of the match:
“We were really, really good in that first half. We played with tempo, we were strong at the breakdown and we took our chances well,” said Best.
“We started the second half well but we just got a little bit loose. We went off on our own agendas at times to try and score that try instead of doing what we had done well in the first half, which was a good team effort, taking them through the phases and then waiting for the mismatches to happen.
“We were probably just not patient enough. That was frustrating. You have to give credit that when Treviso got momentum we held on for the win. Having said that, we were disappointed with how the second half went for us.”
Having scored three tries so early on it could be argued that Ulster’s reversal in fortunes was down to the pressure to get the fourth try and the try-scoring bonus point. Not so says the Ulster skipper.
“We didn’t feel under pressure. We felt if we stuck to our game it would happen. It just didn’t. We probably tried to force it a bit. At 24-7 we were just short a few times. We just didn’t have the discipline to get over the line. We tried to do a little bit too much on our own.
“When they came back at us, they took one visit into our 22 after 15 minutes of our pressure and we let them in too easy. We were soft around the fringes and we let them pick and go and smash us a little bit there.”
Neil Doak’s charges went to Treviso aiming to get the win and they achieved that target. Summing up such a Jekyll and Hyde performance is not easy but Best is keen to stress the positives from the game and to take them into the rest of the PRO12 campaign.
He added: “The first half performance was good and we will take heart from that. Ultimately we got the four points and that’s what we went there for. If we keep picking up four points between now and the end of the season we will be in a good place.”