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Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 22 September, 2019
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Ulster won't risk Best and Henderson against Leinster, Olding set for surgery and 12 weeks out

The hooker and lock have been nursing respective shoulder and elbow injuries in recent weeks.

ULSTER BACK STUART Olding will miss Ireland’s summer tour as he is set to undergo surgery on his left ankle tomorrow.

Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss confirmed the news in Dublin today after the 24-year-old centre consulted with a specialist yesterday.

Kiss also clarified that Ulster’s trio of Lions — Iain Henderson, Rory Best and Jared Payne — would not feature in the end-of-season inter-pro against Leinster on Saturday.

“(Olding) will have to have surgery which will be tomorrow. (There is) syndesmosis and other elements in the ankle so it will be eight to 12 weeks that he’ll be out unfortunately,” Kiss said, signalling a pre-season target for the centre as he spoke at an event for Kingspan.

With Ruan Pienaar set to depart the province at the end of this season, the scrum-half looks likely to play his farewell fixture at Kingspan Stadium this weekend after dealing with a back spasm early this week.

“He’s running around this morning. There shouldn’t be any issue with that one. He’s super keen to play.”

The same is undoubtedly true for Best, Henderson and Payne, but with the latter already dealing with an ankle injury, Kiss has decided not to risk further harm with nothing riding on Saturday’s clash with the league leaders.

Les Kiss Kingspan delivers high efficiency, low cost, low carbon building solutions and is the naming rights partner and front of jersey sponsor of Ulster Rugby. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“JP is just not quite right,” said Kiss with his injury spreadsheet open on his laptop.

“Rory and Hendy, they are carrying knocks. They couldn’t train earlier in the week. They could play for sure, but talking as a group with the players, we have decided not to play them and let them get those knocks right.

Hendy has been carrying his elbow for the last number of weeks. Besty has been carrying his shoulder. We are going to give them a chance to get absolutely right to go to the Lions camp and get that going and gain that experience.

“Particularly for someone like Hendy, hopefully he’ll come back to the Ulster team having gathered a lot of experience. That decision has been made.

“We possibly could have pushed it, but at the beginning of the week we said ‘no, no, he’s probably two weeks (away)’. Next weekend he would have been alright. If we were in the hunt (for the Pro12 semi-finals), he would have been up in there. He’s going to be absolutely flying (for the Lions).

“You’d hate for him to come on and do something. It’s a once in a life time experience and we have agreed internally.”

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Sean Farrell

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