Ulster hit by injury blow as Stuart Olding out for season
Stuart Olding's season is over. Ulster's 20-year-old backline player, who is equally comfortable at out-half, full-back or in the centre, was injured during Friday night's Ravens win over Connacht Eagles.
A scan confirmed the worst fears – a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The injury will require surgery, ruling Olding out for the rest of the season.
It's a cruel blow for the player and the province, who will notice his absence immediately for with Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall currently in camp with Ireland ahead of Sunday's Guinness Series date with New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium, Olding almost certainly would have been on Ulster duty against Edinburgh at Ravenhill on Friday night (7.05pm).
The former pupil Belfast Royal Academy – where he played in the same team as Ulster and Ireland colleague Iain Henderson – is one of the most promising young players in the country, not least because of his remarkable adaptability.
He made his international debut in June against the United States Eagles during the two-date trans-Atlantic tour, with his first cap coming after only 15 appearances for Ulster – proof of his rapid progress and the faith the Irish coaching staff clearly have in him.
In Ulster's last home date for the break for the autumn internationals, he had an excellent match at full-back in the province's 39-21 romp against Cardiff Blues.
He lined out at outside-half on Friday night at Deramore Park where he partnered fellow-international Paul Marshall.