Injury blow for Ulster as Will Addison ruled out for the season
Will Addison is out for the remainder of Ulster's season after undergoing surgery, the province has confirmed.
The star centre has been out of action since January, after suffering lower back stiffness in Ireland training for the Six Nations.
It had been hoped that Addison could make a return this season but he has now been ruled out until the summer as Ulster hope to welcome the former Sale Sharks captain back for pre-season.
While his absence will no doubt hurt Ulster's bid for glory in the PRO14, it could scarcely be more ill-timed in the run-up to the World Cup with his chances of securing a spot on the plane to Japan severely hampered.
The 26-year-old quickly found favour with Kingspan Stadium supporters after his summer switch to Ulster, putting in a string of impressive performances in the first half of the season, scoring three tries including scores in the victories over Leicester and Racing 92 in the Champions Cup.
He also showed his skill with the boot following an injury to Billy Burns as he kicked eight points during that thrilling 26-22 home win against Racing.
Those displays helped Addison win his first three Ireland caps during the Autumn Internationals and he was then named in Joe Schmidt's 38-man squad, although he didn't make it into a matchday 23 as his back problems hit.
Meanwhile, Stuart McCloskey is following return to play protocols after sustaining a concussion in the defeat to Glasgow on Friday.
Ulster have two big Guinness PRO14 games remaining as they aim to cement a spot in the end of season play-offs. First up is a trip to Edinburgh on Friday before Leinster visit Kingspan Stadium on Saturday, April 27.
Belfast Telegraph Digital