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This is the match when I'm aiming to get back into Ulster action: Rory Best

 

By Jonathan Bradley

Rory Best has revealed he is on course to be back leading both Ulster and Ireland in the coming weeks, with the Champions Cup date against La Rochelle on October 22 seen as a "realistic" target for a potential return.

The 35-year-old has not played since the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand thanks to a hamstring injury in training almost three weeks ago, sparking fears he may miss two months.

That would have ruled him out of Ulster's early European action, as well as leaving national boss Joe Schmidt needing a new captain for the autumn.

"At the minute I'm on course, hopefully for the second round of Europe," he said. "We'll not set anything in stone but that's a realistic goal. Hopefully it comes forward but you never know, it may slip. It's nothing major, just a little frustrating."

Ulster expect to know today if Jared Payne will be cleared for Friday's clash with Connacht, but Marcell Coetzee is already ruled out with a knee injury and will be sent to a specialist this week.

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