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Ulster's Stuart McCloskey expected to make a quick return

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster will not know the full extent of Stuart McCloskey's shoulder injury until next week but the Irish international centre is expected to play again this season.

The bulldozing 23-year-old sustained a knock to his AC joint in last Friday night's win over Connacht and at present is a doubt for the trip to face Zebre a week on Saturday.

The Kingspan outfit have no game this weekend due to the European quarter-finals but, with the business end of the Guinness PRO12 upon us and Ulster needing a near-perfect finish to earn a place in the play-offs, McCloskey is set to be an important contributor for the province between now and mid-May should his fitness allow.

There is said to be no issue with Luke Marshall despite his own substitution on Friday while Tommy Bowe and Louis Ludik are also nearing a return.

Read more: Les Kiss calls for an Ulster repeat for Zebre PRO12 clash

Director of Rugby Les Kiss said: "We've got to look and see where Stuart McCloskey is with that shoulder; hopefully he's fine.

"Tommy is working hard and he's so close but it's something we want to be smart with.

"It's a frustrating process but he's working extremely hard to get back, as is Louis Ludik."

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