Ulster winger Robert Baloucoune has suffered an injury setback and will require surgery on a hamstring tear that will keep him out of action for a number of months.
The former Ireland Sevens star had scored six tries in eight appearances before the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 and Heineken Champions Cup seasons were suspended back in March.
Ahead of Sunday’s clash against Connacht at the Aviva Stadium, Ulster Head Coach Dan McFarland described Baloucoune’s injury setback as ‘upsetting’ as the 22-year-old – who was called into Andy Farrell‘s pre-Six Nations training squad last January – faces into the prospect of an extended period on the sidelines.
“It was a hamstring avulsion that happened in a jackal position in training,” McFarland explained. “It’s one of those injuries sustained in a mechanism that you can’t do anything about. It’s really upsetting for Robert.
“He’s got something special that a lot of people would love to have, and that’s his speed. He’s a very good learner and is excellent defensively. He’s a smart defender and has been very physical for us. He has been progressing well but these things happen and he’s a mentally tough guy and he’ll work through that. In the meantime, we’re blessed here with a number of back three players that are equally talented.”
McFarland also confirmed Sean Reidy will be out of action for a period of four-six weeks following a calf injury.