Ulster rocked by injury to summer recruit Gareth Milasinovich
New Ulster signing Gareth Milasinovich has been dealt a cruel blow after suffering a knee problem in pre-season training.
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The prop, who arrived from Worcester Warriors, will now miss nine months after undergoing surgery to repair what has been confirmed by Ulster as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.
The 26-year-old, who was born in South Africa but whose grandfather played for Ulster, had been expected to provide tight-head competition for Marty Moore, who made the number three jersey his own last season.
"Gareth is a big strong man who will provide us with another good option and enhance competition for places," said head coach Dan McFarland when his signing was announced.
Now, Milasinovich will cut a frustrated figure in the early months of the campaign as he awaits a much delayed Ulster debut.
Marcell Coetzee arrived with a similar problem in 2016 and had to wait until February before first showcasing the talent that has since seen him become a stalwart in the Guinness PRO14.
Defence coach Jared Payne was another who enjoyed a fine career with the province despite having his first season wrecked by injury.