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Ulster in dark over Afoa injury blow

By Niall Crozier

Ulster management are hoping the weekend injury suffered by incoming New Zealander John Afoa heals quickly.

The All Blacks prop fractured his cheekbone in Saturday’s 40-7 rout of South Africa — whose line-up included Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar.

Having replaced Ben Franks at tighthead early in the second-half, Afoa’s spent little more than six minutes on the pitch before exiting.

New Zealand have admitted that the fracture is worse than they had first thought, so it remains to be seen how long the 18st 12lbs prop will be out.

The fact that the All Blacks initially were talking in terms of Afoa being fit to face Australia in Saturday’s Tri Nations Test at Eden Park certainly suggests that his injury does not belong in the ‘most serious type’ category.

Coach Graham Henry said: “The reports are not as good as I thought they were going to be.”

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