Ulster boosted by return of injured players
Ulster's walking wounded are on the road to recovery following Friday night’s run-out against Bath.
Prop Bryan Young, who was forced to withdraw after suffering a pre-match hip injury, has resumed training and that will have come as a relief to coach Brian McLaughlin who has front row concerns in the wake of the injuries picked up by Paddy McAllister and Declan Fitzpatrick.
To those, add BJ Botha’s unavailablity owing to his Tri-Nations involvement with the Springboks and the fact that Friday night saw Ulster forced to deploy Tom Court.
Having toured New Zealand and Australia with Ireland during the summer, he was to have been rested for the friendly encounter.
But when Young cried off, Court found himself on bench duty.
McAllister’s neck injury duly led to Court being introduced as a replacement, a fact which may yet have a knock-on effect depending on how Irish coach Declan Kidney and the IRFU view the prop’s closely monitored rest-time requirements.
A CT scan and x-rays to McAllister, who was helped from the Ravenhill pitch in Friday night’s 26-14 defeat to the Guinness Premiership side, confirmed no serious damage.
Meanwhile Fitzpatrick, who suffered a back spasm against Bath, is on the mend, too.
And x-rays have allayed fears as to the seriousness of scrum-half Paul Marshall’s AC joint (shoulder) injury.
His unavailability, in tandem with that of injured in-coming South African Ruan Pienaar who also has an AC joint problem, leaves Ulster minus the services of the duo who will be their top two number 9s in 2010/11.
Full-back Jamie Smith’s return to action last Friday night following wrist surgery during the summer break was never intended to be anything more than a 40-minute introductory run.
So no-one need be too concerned at his limited role, albeit that he suffered a first-half cut above his eye.