Ulster will be without in-form flanker Sean Reidy for the Guinness PRO14 title run-in, following surgery on the shoulder he injured against Gloucester last month.
The province’s medical provincial team confirmed today that Reidy is expected to be sidelined for ‘approximately three months’.
It is an untimely blow for the Conference A leaders who will put their unbeaten record on the line when visiting second-placed Leinster at the RDS this Friday night.
The 31-year-old Ireland international has been a star performer for Ulster in recent months, picking up player-of-the-match awards against the Dragons, Glasgow Warriors and the Scarlets, and also scoring three tries during those games.
Head coach Dan McFarland commented: “It is really disappointing. Sean had been doing a fantastic job for us. He really adds to our collective speed and has a fantastic skill-set and has an ability to get us across the gain-line.
“He is a really good team man, he has an energy and a positivity about him that we will miss, but he is a strong fella and we will look forward to seeing him back.”
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Jacob Stockdale sustained a knee injury during last Saturday’s 15-10 derby win over Munster. His availability for the Leinster clash will be assessed throughout the week.
Also currently on Ulster’s injury list and unavailable for selection are Jack McGrath, Iain Henderson, Luke Marshall, Robert Baloucoune, Rob Lyttle, Will Addison, Louis Ludik and Angus Curtis.