Fresh injury concerns for Ulster ahead of Leinster derby clash

Ulster's Robbie Diack is in a race to be fit for Leinster

Ulster's Robbie Diack is in a race to be fit for Leinster

  • by Richard Mulligan

Robbie Diack and Tom Court were both being assessed later this week as to their involvement with Ulster in Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 derby clash with Leinster.

Diack has a shoulder problem while Tom Court has an upper leg injury.

Loosehead prop, Court, is likely to be involved in some part in the game at the RDS, but a decision on backrow forward Diack will be made before the team announcement at lunchtime on Friday.

Hopes that Chris Henry and Nick Williams would be involved against Leinster also look unlikely, with both expected to take some part in the second of the derby games against Munster at Ravenhill on Friday, January 3.

Iain Henderson was also likely to return but he has suffered a setback this week with illness, but it was hoped Roger Wilson would be available for selection.

Ulster assistant coach, Jonny Bell, like Leinster coach, Matt O’Connor on Monday, was giving little away ahead of Saturday’s game in terms of team selection.

Eight players were involved in the Irish training camp from Sunday to Monday, with a number of players, including Paddy Jackson, back with their Province on Tuesday.

Bell said: “We are going into a tough period of four matches. Two big Irish derbies are followed by two massive Heineken Cup games.

“Yes we are having to mix and match a bit. It is about managing the squad, making sure players who are coming back from injury get some game time and also making sure those just back or rested stay fit.

“We know what backs we have but it is a question of waiting and seeing with the fowards at this stage.

“We will have a decent side going down this weekend to Dublin. We won there last year and got the monkey off our backs. There is certainly an intent to get a result again.”

Ulster are currently sandwiched in second place in the PRO12 standings between Munster, who are six points clear at the top, and Leinster, who are a point behind.

Bell said: “It is tight at the top. We have got ourselves into second place, but Munster are a little bit ahead of everyone else and we cannot afford to slip points.”

Paul Marshall will start at scrumhalf with Ruan Pienaar on the bench. Paddy Jackson will come in at 10.

In terms of the midfield and three quarters, it is unclear if Ulster will go with a similar lineout to last week with Paddy Wallace and Jared Payne starting in the centre or if Darren Cave or Luke Marshall, who were both at the Irish training camp, returning to the starting XV. That option may be deployed next week for the sold-out game against Munster.

This Saturday’s game at the RDS has a 6.45pm kick-off.




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