ULSTER HEAD COACH Dan McFarland has been given a timely boost as international trio Rory Best, Jacob Stockdale and Sean Reidy are available for Friday’s inter-pro clash with Connacht (kick-off 19.35).
The northern province suffered a record 64-7 defeat at the hands of Munster on Saturday night, undermining much of the positive mood built in their four-game unbeaten run to start the season.
While the hamstring issues for Best, Stockdale and Reidy have been given the all-clear in good time for Europe and November, there is disappointment for Darren Cave.
The veteran centre underwent surgery on a thumb injury suffered in Limerick and will sit out the next eight weeks.
A concussion for Iain Henderson makes him a doubt to face Connacht as he follows return to play protocols.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Wiehahn Herbst has also gone under the knife after reporting an adductor issue following the draw away to the Cheetahs. Marcell Coetzee (shoulder), Will Addison (back) and Michael Lowry (shoulder) are edging close to a return.
John Cooney is expected to be fit to face his former club in Kingspan Stadium after opening up the wound on his scalp in Thomond Park.
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Jordi Murphy (ankle), Luke Marshall, Henry Speight (both knee) and Marty Moore (calf) remain among the list of 18 injury absentees.
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