Ulster await fitness updates on Jared Payne and Andrew Trimble
Fears Irish centre, Payne may be ruled out until New Year with fractured rib cage
Ireland’s Jared Payne: did not return to the pitch following half-time against Australia at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Reuters
Payne took a heavy knock to the rib cage and there is a suggestion that he may have suffered a fracture thereby potentially ruling him out until the New Year and in those circumstances missing the province’s pivotal Champions Cup double header against Clermont Auvergne next month.
Trimble limped off in the first half with an ankle injury to be replaced by Joe Carbery while Payne did not return to the pitch following half-time; scrumhalf Kieran Marmion replaced him, albeit playing on the wing. Ulster were unable to confirm the extent of the injus at a riepress conference on Tuesday.
Stuart Olding, who suffered a hamstring injury while training with Ireland last Tuesday week in the build-up to the Australia match, is not available for Saturday’s Guinness Pro12 game against the Cardiff Blues. Tempering the bad news slightly is the availability of centre Stuart McCloskey and tighthead prop Rodney Ah You, who both trained on Tuesday.
Ireland captain Rory Best, who made his 100th appearance in leading the national side to the win over the Wallabies, and outhalf Paddy Jackson – he had a fine game – are being rested under the national player management programme but secondrow Iain Henderson, who started against Australia, is available to Ulster coach Les Kiss. He didn’t train on Tuesday.
“It is player management full stop; not just national management. We’ll look after the players as well, the likes of Jacko (Paddy Jackson) and Besty (Rory Best), they’ve played a lot of minutes. A couple of the boys are carrying knocks and injuries too that will rule them out of this week. We are hopeful that Rodney Ah You and Stuart McCloskey will be back into the mix. They completed the majority of the session and we’ll see how they come through.”
Ireland international Dan Tuohy looks like he’ll be leaving the province possibly with immediate effect. The 31-year-old who won 11 caps, scoring one try for the national side was in Bristol on Tuesday afternoon undergoing a medical with a view to joining the English club 18 months before his current contract was due to expire.
Ulster go into the Cardiff match without a game for four weeks after their game against Zebre last weekend was called off late because a frozen pitch at the Kingspan stadium. “It was a negative for us. We were coming off a defeat to Edinburgh that we weren’t happy about.
“We’d prepared well and we were really looking forward to it: equally, maybe even more so, for the fans (as) 16,000 had bought tickets and some had travelled a long distance.
“They (Cardiff) started really well like ourselves and (are) coming off the back of a few losses in the league. They’re going to be up to get a performance at home and we’re very conscious of that. Our last outing on a 3G surface was good, very good against Glasgow.
“We have to produce that again in terms of precision and accuracy. They’re a good side, they play with tempo, they’ve very dangerous backs, they’ve got a centre partnership, and couple that with their back-row, they’re a fine unit. Against a team desperate for a win, playing at home, we know the challenges. Equally we’re desperate for a win. It’s critical that we deliver.”