Ulster suffer major blow as promising centre James Hume ruled out for four months
Ulster have been handed a significant blow as young centre James Hume has been sidelined for four months as he recovers from a torn hamstring.
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The 21-year-old sustained the injury in the third minute of Ulster's victory over the Cardiff Blues and was spotted on crutches at the end of the game.
Now it has been revealed that the injury is a lot worse than initially thought, with the centre out until March having undergone surgery to repair the damage.
It's a massive blow, not just for the province but also for the player himself, who had been one of Ulster's stand-out players to start the campaign.
Hume had played a part in Ulster's first four games, starting three and coming off the bench against the Southern Kings, amassing 183 minutes in the process.
The former RBAI ace had impressed on both sides of the ball, too, and ranks fourth in the team in carries (30) and second in defenders beaten (12) despite missing a game.
Defensively, Hume has missed just three of the 26 tackles he's attempted, making him a solid defender too, and he had formed a reliable partnership with Luke Marshall in the centre.
The hope will be that the up-and-coming star will recover in time to play a role in the latter part of Ulster's season as they aim to make the play-offs, but in the short-term it leaves Ulster short in the centre.
With Stuart McCloskey also sidelined, new signing Matt Faddes has been forced into the centre as cover, while young Angus Curtis is also an option after a couple of strong cameos off the bench.
In better injury news, full-back Will Addison has not yet been ruled out of Saturday's interprovincial clash with Munster after sustaining a shoulder injury against Zebre.
The English-born Ireland international went off in the 17th minute of the 22-7 win last Friday and was seen wearing a sling in the dugout later in the game.
However, Ulster have said he will continue to be monitored throughout the week to determine his availability for Saturday's game at Thomond Park.
Meanwhile, full-back Louis Ludik is undergoing the return to play protocols after sustaining a concussion against Zebre last week, which will likely rule him out of the trip to Limerick.
Belfast Telegraph Digital