Tim Boys' Ulster stay is brought to end before it began
Just when Ulster had a player in place to solve their issues over fit specialist openside flankers, they have suffered another blow after it was revealed that Tim Boys has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
The Kiwi, who was signed from Southland in January on a short-term deal until the season's end, suffered a tendon injury in his foot during training last week and will now not feature in an Ulster shirt at all as Neil Doak's third-placed squad continue their push to secure a play-off spot in the Guinness PRO12.
The 31-year-old, who is non-Irish qualified, was brought here under special dispensation sought from the IRFU to fill the void left by Chris Henry's health problems and other issues in the back row and seemed certain to feature at this key point of the campaign.
Boys underwent surgery last Wednesday on his injured left foot. He now follows fellow Kiwi short-termer Ronald Raaymakers - who was brought over earlier this season but has now returned home injured - as a player who never featured for the senior side, though second row Raaymakers did manage to play for the Ulster Ravens.
Ulster's Team Manager, Bryn Cunningham, said of Boys's situation: "It is disappointing for both the province and the individual when a player is brought in as cover and sustains an injury that sidelines him for the duration of his short-term contract.
"It is frustrating for all involved."
Elsewhere on the injury front, Robbie Diack is back in harness again. The Irish-qualified South African has now recovered from the back problem which had sidelined him for a fortnight and will be available for Sunday's PRO12 clash at the Dragons.
Also on an upbeat note, concerns over tight-head prop Wiehahn Herbst's fitness have been allayed for the Dragons game.
The South African has apparently fully recovered from the cramp he suffered in his hamstring.
Meanwhile, Paddy Jackson was due to return to what is described as "appropriate training" today after dislocating his elbow in the defeat at Toulon in January.
There was no update on Stuart Olding who also suffered an elbow injury against Toulon.
Jackson's progress may mean that short-term cover out-half Mike Stanley is unlikely to see much more action after his brief cameo last Friday in the Scarlets game though he might get more pitch-time at the Dragons.