Belfast Telegraph

Ulster boss Kiss admits blows to key men look bad

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss has been left sweating over injuries to key players ahead of next week's Champions Cup contest with Toulouse after four of his men failed to finish the 14-7 win over Edinburgh at the Kingspan Stadium last night.

Iain Henderson, Peter Nelson, Darren Cave and Dan Tuohy all looked in various levels of pain as the home side's bench was called upon early and often and Kiss was downcast in his post-match projections.

"I haven't got the full report yet but it doesn't look too good for a few of them actually," he admitted. "Once we get the scans back we'll know for sure but I'd dare say a few of them could be long term.

"Darren was just an AC joint, we'll have to manage that because it's quite painful.

"Hendy had something in the hamstring region. Peter Nelson had a pretty nasty foot injury.

"Dan seems okay but we need to have a closer look.

"We started the day at about two o'clock with Roger Wilson having a spasm in his back and we had to call Clive Ross in, who did an exceptional job.

"Rob Herring as well at the end of the game was hurt and John Andrew had to throw in an important line-out to make sure we saw it out.

"Rory Scholes took a few knocks but toughed it out when we needed him to.

"The subs that came on did really well. John Andrew did really well playing at flanker."

Having lost to Saracens in their Champions Cup opener two weeks ago, Kiss knows the need for strong showings against Toulouse over the next fortnight but admitted the challenge would be considerably tougher without a full deck.

"There's no doubt it's a massive ask in terms of what team we're playing," added Kiss.

"The 'A' team has performed better in the last two games and there's been some players putting their hands up.

"That's what good clubs are made of, teams that can rely on depth. We saw a bit of it each time and if we can build on that then we'll be in a good place.

"It was important to do what we did. I think if we had have kept all our numbers on the pitch it could have been a different story for us but there is a good story in how we stood up.

"It gives us confidence going forward into next week but there's certainly work to do.

"Everyone knows what Toulouse are.

"We'll see where we are on Monday morning with the injuries because it's a big job home and away against Toulouse."

Despite the setbacks on the injury front, Kiss was understandably pleased to see his undermanned side gut out what was a well-earned victory.

"Rob Herring was excellent and Paddy (Jackson) controlled the game well," he said. "The leadership in the key positions was brilliant. Chris Henry had a stormer. I think there's some key contributions from a leadership perspective.

"Defensively we put in some really strong tackles. We hunted as a pack and when they did stretch us we had the smarts to use the sideline."

Belfast Telegraph


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