Ulster have revealed that centre Stuart McCloskey is a doubt for Friday’s final United Rugby Championship clash with the Cell C Sharks at Ravenhill.
The Ireland international is dealing with a groin injury sustained against Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago and could miss their last regular season outing against the South African side.
McCloskey has been integral to the squad’s success this season, forming an excellent partnership with James Hume in the midfield, and his absence would be keenly felt if he did miss out, especially against the powerful Sharks.
The visitors are expected to have Springbok star Lukhanyo Am back in their centre, and being able to counter him with McCloskey would be the ideal scenario for head coach Dan McFarland.
Meanwhile, tighthead prop Marty Moore will also be absent as he continues to deal with concussion symptoms, however Ireland international Tom O’Toole has returned from his suspension and is likely to start in the front row.
Moore joins long-term absentees Jack McGrath (hip), Will Addison (lower leg) and Jacob Stockdale (ankle) on the sidelines, while Greg Jones (thumb) and Tom Stewart (hamstring) are still unavailable.
Lock Cormac Izuchukwu has also been added to the injury list with a shoulder problem, with the young forward having endured a rough season after sitting out the first half while recovering from an ACL injury.
Ulster know that a win against the Sharks will book them a home URC quarter-final back at Ravenhill in two weeks’ time, while they will still hold out hope that they can sneak into second place and host a potential semi-final as well.