Ulster’s leading scorer John Cooney is set to return from injury in Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 derby clash with Munster, while captain Rory Best and Jacob Stockdale are expected to play ‘within the next two weeks’.
The Ulster medical team, who have had a busy start to the new season, have issued the following squad update ahead of the team’s interprovincial showdown with Munster at Thomond Park this weekend.
Scrum half and top scorer John Cooney, who has tallied up 44 points so far, has recovered from the scalp laceration he sustained on tour against the Isuzu Southern Kings. He is available for selection against provincial rivals Munster in round 5.
Meanwhile, Rory Best, Ulster’s regular captain, and fellow Ireland international Jacob Stockdale have returned to full training and are expected to return to play within the next two weeks. Ulster face two interpro matches against Munster (away) and Connacht (home) before launching their Heineken Champions Cup campaign.
Craig Gilroy (abdominal muscle) and Will Addison (back spasm) picked up injuries last week in South Africa and will continue to be assessed. Marcell Coetzee (shoulder), Wiehahn Herbst (groin), Rob Herring (toe), Sean Reidy (hamstring) and Henry Speight (knee) suffered knocks against the Toyota Cheetahs last Friday and are unavailable for selection against Munster.
Ulster’s current injury list also includes Peter Browne (concussion), David Busby (knee), Louis Ludik (hamstring), Chris Henry (calf), Rob Lyttle (knee), Luke Marshall (knee), Kyle McCall (elbow), Martin Moore (calf), Tommy O’Hagan (foot) and Jack Owens (concussion).
Looking forward to their first interprovincial encounter of the season, Ulster assistant coach Dwayne Peel said: “Any time you go down there to Thomond Park, it’s a tough place to go but it’s a great place to go as well. A good place to go and play rugby and a good test for us.
“Munster will obviously be smarting from last weekend, you know. They’ve been going quite well but they’ll be hurting from that Cardiff game. There’s no easy time to go there I don’t think.
“We realise it’s a big challenge for us to do go down there and a big test but we’re looking forward to it. The confidence in the group is good (following an unbeaten start to the new season and the South Africa tour) so it’s a good time to go there.”