Gatty, if you're listening: Tommy Bowe speeding toward recovery

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe is confident the winger will be fit for the business end of the season.

Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

ULSTER COACH MARK Anscombe yesterday expressed great optimism over the fitness of his star winger, Tommy Bowe.

The Ireland international suffered lateral ligament damage in his right knee in the closing stages of Ulster’s first defeat of the season, at home to Northampton in December.

Speaking with in Belfast Anscombe said: “Bowe is training superbly – he’s progressing really, really well; considering the extent of what he did to where he’s at.

“He’s going to see some rugby before the season’s out. And, for the type of injury, it’s a credit to him and the medical staff that he’s been able to achieve that.”

Though the head coach refused to place any time-line on the return, he appeared certain that Ulster’s Heineken Cup quarter final away to Saracens would be at least a week too soon.

“If he comes out, and it’s a week or two early, then he’ll have ramifications and that would be unfair on him. He’ll be back on the park when he’s ready.”

With Nick Williams and Johann Muller included in the squad to face Edinburgh this week, Ulster’s injury list has the feel of a revolving door. Suffering the fall-out of Ireland’s first ever Six Nations defeat to Italy, Iain Henderson now joins Bowe, Luke Marshall, Paddy Wallace and Stephen Ferris on the sidelines.

“We’re just waiting to see what the extent [of Henderson’s injury] is, but it’s certainly not looking good – a ligament in the foot that’s attached to the toe – They’re not normally very good.

“It’s not a common injury. Certainly the symptoms I’m hearing are not what I want to be hearing. Maybe [it's] the curse of another injury that takes up a part of a season. It’s not looking good at this stage.”

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Currently at Ulster, most negatives can be paired off with a positive, and Chris Henry’s imminent return from cartilage trouble can certainly be marked with a plus.

Anscombe has penciled the openside in for a run-out against Leinster at the RDS on March 30, but that game will come too soon for Roger Wilson.

As a result, the number eight is unlikely to be in the mix for the northern province’s Heineken Cup quarter final with Saracens at Twickenham on April 6.

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