Ulster winger Craig Gilroy has recovered from a fractured cheekbone and is in contention to play against the Southern Kings on Friday night, in what will be Jono Gibbes’ first game in charge of the province since Les Kiss’ recent departure.
Andrew Trimble (back) and Peter Nelson (hamstring) have picked up injuries in training and are unavailable for selection this weekend, as Ulster, who sit third in Conference B, return to GUINNESS PRO14 action following their recent European exit.
The following players remain unavailable due to injury – Callum Black (lower back), Tommy Bowe (sternoclavicular joint), David Busby (hamstring), Marcell Coetzee (knee), Robbie Diack (back), Brett Herron (knee), Jared Payne (migraines), Jonny Simpson (wrist) and Schalk van der Merwe (ankle).
Asked about Les Kiss leaving his director of rugby role in Belfast by mutual consent, Ulster captain Rory Best admitted: “Unfortunately with the way results and performances and pressures have gone, it sort of over the last little bit had an air of inevitability to it. I think it’s disappointing.
“I’ve known Les a long time and he’s a very good coach, but whatever happened at Ulster, it just didn’t click. Les will be missed, he’s a great guy. There’s no doubt that as a player group we have to take responsibility and put our hands up.”
Speaking in the build-up to Ireland’s Six Nations clash with France in Paris, the hooker added: “I definitely feel that, maybe not all the time, but at certain times of Les’ tenure, as players we let him down. We let slip things that I know wouldn’t stand down here (with Ireland) as a player group. But unfortunately when things don’t work, it’s a lot harder to sack the players than sack the coach and that’s unfortunately the way it is.”