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Ulster will be missing 12 for Cardiff Guinness PRO12 clash

Tony Ward

Ireland's World Cup is over but Ulster are continuing to count the cost after Tommy Bowe underwent a knee scan yesterday.

The wing is one of TWELVE set to be absent when Neil Doak’s side take on Cardiff in the Guinness Pro12 at Kingspan on Friday as injuries mount.

The two-time British and Irish Lion lasted just 12 minutes of the quarter-final loss to Argentina on Sunday with Joe Schmidt suspecting that the Monaghan man has ligament damage.

While the extent of the injury is yet to be confirmed, Bowe travelled back to Dublin with his team-mates yesterday sporting a knee brace.

The fear is that the 31-year-old, who was walking with the aid of crutches, faces another lengthy spell on the sidelines in what has been an injury interrupted second spell with his native province.

Jared Payne played just two games in the World Cup before fracturing his foot and there remains no prognosis of how long he is likely to be absent.

Rory Best, Iain Henderson and Chris Henry, who all played a significant role in Ireland's tournament, will be given a lengthy break after their efforts over recent weeks.

It is hoped the trio will hit their stride again in time for the Champions Cup clashes in the middle of next month.

Star scrum-half Ruan Pienaar is still on South Africa duty ahead of the Springbok's semi-final against New Zealand on Saturday and, win or lose this weekend, won't be seen until November.

Paddy Jackson and Darren Cave, who both only featured once at the tournament, will return to fold sooner than that, but they will still be phased back into the side.

Luke Marshall's poor run of luck on the injury front continues as the centre will miss at least the next six weeks with a thumb injury that required surgery last week.

Dan Tuohy was substituted in the first-half of last Friday's loss to Edinburgh with a concussion and is currently undergoing the return to play protocols.

Robbie Diack missed that loss in the Scottish capital with a thigh strain picked up playing for Ulster A and he too is not expected to feature against Cardiff while Stuart Olding remains a long-term absentee with a knee injury. Summer signing Sam Windsor is fit to make his debut if selected, however, while fellow out-half Ian Humphreys came through the first 20 minutes of his season last weekend unscathed.

Ulster, who will shortly welcome Ireland's defence coach Les Kiss into the fold as director of rugby, currently sit fifth in the Pro12 table with two wins from their four games.

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