Director of rugby Les Kiss is determined to keep the minds of everyone focused on Ulster going to Italy this weekend and getting the result they need against Zebre.
Not surprisingly yesterday’s media session saw a lot of attention centred around the injury to one of Ulster’s marquee signings for next season, Marcell Coetzee.
The South African international backrow suffered a serious knee injury playing with Sharks against Lions in the Super Rugby League at the weekend.
The injury is likely to rule Coetzee out for at least nine months and the worst case scenario would be he would not play for Ulster until January 2017.
Kiss confirmed both he and operations manager, Bryn Cunningham had been in touch with Coetzee.
“It is unfortunate for him. No player wants to suffer an injury and his is quite serious.
“We have been in touch with him and we will continue to monitor the situation.
“We have to let it take its course and worry about what is in front of us, that is just the truth of it,” said Kiss.
Pressed further about potentially looking at getting another body in as cover, Kiss said he had a good discussion with Cunningham but there was little point in speculating too much as this stage.
“Ultimately the only thing we have to worry about at the moment is what we have in front of us and that is Zebre,” said Kiss.
“It is a game we have to win, it is as simple as that, if we are to harbour hopes of making the play-offs.
“We could probably do with a bonus point as well but not getting that would not be the death knell,” added Kiss.
Ulster currently lie fifth in the Guinness PRO12 standings.
The other teams in the top six are involved in games against each other.
Leaders Leinster entertain Edinburgh who are pushing hard in seventh place at the minute.
Sixth placed Munster go to second placed Connacht, while the big game of Round 20 is probably the visit of defending champions, Glasgow Warriors away to fourth placed Scarlets.
“Teams are stealing points of each other in every round. It will be no different this weekend,” said Kiss.
“We have to make sure we rise to the challenge we face. We are going to Zebre it is the only game that matters and the only game that exists in our life at this stage.
“They are desperate to secure a place in the Champions Cup next season and will want to take something from the game to keep them ahead of Treviso.
“We need to make sure we are fully prepared to meet the challenge.
“They (Zebre) can be dangerous at home. We have spoken about it in the past as we have gone over there before and the guys just not get it right early.
“That is our challenge - we just have to go and be better than what we delivered in the past.”
The Ulster boss confirmed that Stuart McCloskey, Lous Luidk and Nick Williams would all miss the trip to Parma.
He also sounded some concern over Williams - who would leave at the end of the season to join Cardiff Blues - saying: “He does not look to be improving at a rate of knots so it puts us in a position how we assess that for the rest of the year.
“We will see how he goes over the week and next and where he stands.”
Tommy Bowe and Darren Cave are both expected to be in the mix having played for Ulster ‘A’ in a win over Munster ‘A’ last week.