Belfast Telegraph

Ulster's Craig Gilroy to miss limited game time despite cheekbone surgery

 

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster's Craig Gilroy underwent surgery to have a metal plate inserted yesterday after the province confirmed he broke a cheekbone against La Rochelle on Saturday.

He is not expected to miss more than a month of action though, with up to four weeks seemingly consistent with his type of injury.

While it is a blow, it seems that he will miss limited game time.

He will naturally not travel to Coventry for the province's crunch Champions Cup clash with Wasps on Sunday (3.15pm kick-off) but after that crucial contest, Ulster have something of a mid-season break.

With European competition then on the back-burner until April - whether it resumes with Ulster still in the competition will become clear on Sunday - the PRO14 does not return until February 9.

Les Kiss's men do have a potentially crucial fixture with Edinburgh to come a week later, but again the province have been handed a manageable run during the international window.

The injury does, however, torpedo whatever hopes the 26-year-old had of catching Joe Schmidt's eye ahead of Ireland's Six Nations campaign. The Bangor man hasn't featured for the national side since scoring a hat-trick against Italy in last season's championship.

Given Schmidt's selections since, he would have been an outside bet to make today's initial squad despite his try-scoring form of late.

Having missed the start of the season for Ulster with a back problem, he had scored six tries in his previous five games before the injury.

For this week, it seems likely that Gilroy's absence will prompt a back-line reshuffle rather than a like-for-like replacement.

When he went off on Saturday, he was replaced by centre Darren Cave, with Louis Luidk moving from the centre to the wing, a move that certainly appeared to produce a balanced line-up.

Other options would be bringing Andrew Trimble or Rob Lyttle onto the right wing.

Elsewhere, the side continues to monitor the well-being of tight-head prop Wiehahn Herbst ahead of the game against Wasps.

The South African picked up a calf injury against Leinster, missing the win over La Rochelle and will be assessed this week.

Paul Marshall, Robbie Diack and Schalk van der Merwe are ruled out.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph