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Dublin: 1 °C Thursday 18 October, 2018
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Ulster expect Charles Piutau back in action within five weeks after rib injury

If it’s good news you want, Andrew Trimble seems to be over his back issue and may feature against Edinburgh this week.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated: 17.30

OUTGOING ULSTER STAR Charles Piutau will be for ‘a number of weeks’ to recover from dislocated rib cartilage suffered in Friday’s otherwise comfortable win over the Southern Kings.

However, the province’s skills coach Niall Malone is confident that number will not exceed six as he believes Piutau will be fit to face Cardif Blues at the end of March, if not sooner.

The All Black will move to Pat Lam’s Championship-leading Bristol on a lucrative deal ahead of next season. And his time in an Ulster jersey will be limited further by the rib injury with just seven matches remaining in the regular Pro14 season.

That schedule could extend to 10 matches over the next 14 weeks if Ulster were to upset the formbook and go all the way to the final. The northern province’s injury report earlier today did not specify the expected duration of Piutau’s absence and speaking in the Kingspan Stadium this afternoon, Malone explained why:

“He’s only with us for another seven games so to lose him for maybe half of those is going to be a big place to fill.

“He’s dislocated a rib which can take up to four of five weeks, or he could be ready in a week. It’s a very difficult one to put a timeline on. We’re thinking four to five, but it’s a case of how long is a piece of string?

He could be feeling great in a week or he could be feeling bad for another month. He’ll play after the break, we’re pretty sure of that. We’re pretty certain he’ll be back for Cardiff.”

Before that clash in the Welsh capital, Ulster’s fixture list pit them against some of the big national team suppliers with Scarlets and Glasgow meetings to come after Friday’s clash with Edinburgh,

There is a clearer outlook for leg injuries to wing Rob Lyttle and flanker Sean Reidy. Lyttle suffered a significant hamstring injury and is expected to be out for between four and six weeks.

Reidy meanwhile picked up a medial ligament knee injury and is set to miss six weeks, such a time-frame would put him in with a shout of featuring in Ulster’s final three regular season matches against Edinburgh, Ospreys and Munster.

Good news, it seems, is thin on the ground around Ravenhill these days, but there is some in the update on the health of Andrew Trimble and Peter Nelson who are both in contention for Friday’s Pro14 meeting with Edinburgh.

Additional reporting by Adam McKendry

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