Ulster were rocked on Tuesday night with the news that South African backrow Marcell Coetzee may have suffered a season-ending injury.
The Springbok is to undergo exploratory surgery to his left knee next week to discover the extent of the injury.
He limped out of Ulster’s Guinness PRO12 record setting 68-21 win over Zebre last Saturday night after just 18 minutes.
He had only just made his debut for the Province four week ago having been out for nine months.
Shortly after signing for Les Kiss’ side, Coetzee suffered an ACL injury.
It is understood to be the same knee and that will be massively worrying for Ulster and the Springbok.
And in a double whammy, British Lion winger Tommy Bowe is also set to miss the remainder of the season when it was confirmed he had suffered a left ankle fracture during Ireland’s RBS 6 Nations match against Wales last Friday.
He has only just come on as a replacement in the closing minutes and with virtually his first touch of the ball suffered the injury in a tackle.
Both are a serious loss to Ulster in their quest for Guinness PRO12 glory this season.
Having just moved into the top four with last week’s win over Italian strugglers Zebre and in the ideal position to press for a play-off place.
Coetzee has already made a massive impact in the backrow and that will be sorely missed as Ulster go into their final five fixtures which include playing the current top three Leinster, Ospreys and Munster.
Meanwhile, Ulster also confirmed that international winger, Andrew Trimble, is expected to return to action in approximately four weeks.
He had surgery over a week ago on a left hand fracture he sustained when playing against Treviso.
It was a blow for the three-quarter who was expected to be involved in Ireland’s final two Six Nations matches.