Naturally enough, it didn't take long for Paul O'Connell's retirement to feature at Ulster's media day ahead of Friday's Pro12 meeting with Glasgow Warriors. Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss hailed O'Connell as one of the greatest players he had ever had the privilege to work with after the news had broken that the former Ireland and British and Irish Lions skipper had been forced to bow out due to the hamstring injury he sustained at the World Cup.
While also paying tribute to O'Connell's on-field achievements, Kiss also felt that retirement opens the way for the now former player to become involved in some way with the Munster set-up. "I know the superlatives will be flying and so they should be," said Kiss, whose time coaching at Ireland, and being up close to O'Connell, also ended at the World Cup "He's just an icon and a man of great substance. When he spoke he was imposing and it was compelling.
“When he stood in the dressing room, with the players around him, he was a force of nature, a man who could get gel with an energy within a group of people to make things happen.”
Meanwhile, Ulster are hoping to have Chris Henry back for Friday night's home meeting against Glasgow with the flanker believed to have overcome his shoulder problem.
Kiss also hopes to have Stuart Olding, Robbie Diack and Peter Browne available as all are believed to have cleared return to play protocols after leaving the field in last Friday's win over the Dragons. The outlook for Ian Humphreys (who also underwent an HIA) is not clear while doubts remain over Louis Ludik (groin) and Rory Scholes (leg). It is also unclear how many players will be released from the Ireland camp with Paddy Jackson Stuart McCloskey and Rob Herring all having featured against the Dragons