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McCloskey out for two months as Ulster lose Piutau and van der Merwe

The imposing centre is now likely to miss Ireland’s November Tests.

ULSTER WILL BE without influential fullback Charles Piutau and lock Franco van der Merwe for tomorrow’s Guinness Pro12 clash with Connacht at the Sportsground [KO 7.35pm, TG4].

Meanwhile, the northern province have confirmed that centre Stuart McCloskey faces up to two months out with a broken foot.

Jonathan Davies misses his tackle on Charles Piutau Ulster will hope to have Piutau back for the Champions Cup. Source: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

New Zealand international Piutau has been ruled out of the inter-provincial meeting due to a delayed onset concussion following last week’s win over the Ospreys. While Ulster have not provided a definitive timeframe for his recovery, Piutau will miss this weekend.

Van der Merwe will also be absent tomorrow after suffering a ligament strain in his right ankle last weekend. The South African lock is expected back on the pitch in two to three weeks.

That means van der Merwe will definitely miss Ulster’s trip to Bordeaux on 16 October, the province’s opening Champions Cup fixture of the season.

Another player who will be absent for that Bordeaux clash is Luke Marshall, who faces another two to three weeks out of the game as he follows a cautious return-to-play protocol from concussion.

The Ireland centre’s history of previous concussions means Ulster are taking all necessary precautions.

Ulster’s injury update also confirmed that centre Stuart McCloskey will be sidelined for six to eight weeks after fracturing a bone in his left foot.

Stuart McCloskey McCloskey made his Ireland debut last season. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Initially, it had looked as if McCloskey might return after a month, but this confirmed recovery timeframe means he is unlikely to play a part in Ireland’s November Tests.

Lock Alan O’Connor will miss this weekend’s game versus Connacht due to illness, while Anton Peikrishvili [calf strain] and Sam Windsor [rib injury] face around two weeks out of the game.

More positively, Ireland international Iain Henderson has been named to start against Connacht despite currently being on antibiotics for an elbow infection.

Andrew Trimble is expected back next week after recovering from a toe injury, while there is similarly good news on Stuart Olding, who has recovered from a right adductor strain and is also expected to return next week.

Wiehahn Herbst [groin] is expected back in four to five weeks, Chris Henry [shoulder] in three to four, Ricky Lutton [adductor groin injury] in one to two weeks, and Marcell Coetzee [knee] will make his debut in January.

Peter Nelson [left mid foot] still has no return date, but lock Dan Tuohy [ankle] will make his comeback for Ulster’s A team this week.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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