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Bans for Ulster's Luke Marshall and Roger Wilson harm Pro12 bid

By Michael Sadlier

Ulster have been left reeling after bans were handed down to Luke Marshall and Roger Wilson from incidents which arose in last week's win over the Scarlets.

Marshall was given a five-week ban for kicking an opponent while Wilson was found guilty of striking an opposition player in the same match but was barred for one-week and will only miss Sunday's PRO12 clash at the Dragons.

Ireland international Marshall is banned from playing again until the week beginning April 12 when Ulster will be preparing to meet Leinster at the Kingspan Stadium.

It is a huge blow for play-off chasing Ulster and for Marshall, who has had a disrupted season through concussion and injury, and means that the 23-year-old will miss Sunday's game at the Dragons and will also not play any part in the forthcoming matches against Cardiff Blues and Connacht.

With centre Stuart McCloskey also serving a four-week ban for a red card he was shown in last month's game at Edinburgh, Neil Doak will now have to reshuffle his resources with the possibility of starting Mike Stanley, who is here on a short-term cover deal, in midfield at the Dragons.

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