Ulster’s injured full-back Jared Payne aims to follow the example of two fellow New Zealanders who have made successful returns to top-flight rugby after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Three days before his 26th birthday the Kiwi snapped his Achilles in the opening quarter of Ulster’s ill-fated RaboDirect Pro 12 clash with Benetton Treviso at Ravenhill on October 7.
Payne, though, is taking comfort from the leads offered by fellow-countrymen Dan Carter and Daniel Braid.
Carter suffered a partial rupture of the Achilles tendon while playing for Perpignan against Stade Francais in early 2009.
But following a successful operation he was able to return to action six months later. And All Blacks flanker Braid ruptured an Achilles tendon in June 2009.
Meanwhile, former Ulster tighthead BJ Botha has been cleared of foul play after being cited by the independent Citing Commissioner at the RaboDirect Pro12 match between Munster and the Ospreys on October 8.
The South African, who left Ravenhill for Thomond Park last summer, was accused of striking an opponent with his head.
But at yesterday’s disciplinary hearing in Edinburgh, Botha was cleared of foul play by the independent disciplinary committee.