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Ulster not prepared to take any risks with Payne, says coach Gibbes

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster head coach Jono Gibbes has revealed the province will err on the side of caution when it comes to star centre Jared Payne.

The Irish international has not played any rugby since returning home early from the British and Irish Lions tour in June, thanks to what have been described as cervicogenic headaches.

The naturalised Kiwi has trained this week, however, with a view to making his comeback. Gibbes said: “It isn’t an easy thing to work through, it is what it is with him.

“We’d love to add quality like that as quickly as we could but it’s week to week management with him. He participated in our training session, so we’ve just monitored that to see what his reaction was and how he goes.

“We’re probably erring on the side of caution a lot with him.”

Ulster take on Connacht at Kingspan Stadium on Friday night (7.35pm kick-off) looking to put behind them last week’s dismal defeat to Zebre and return to winning ways.

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