Injuries and international call-ups are set to leave Ulster stretched next month, particularly in the second row department.
Ulster confirmed on Monday that captain, Johann Muller, was likely to be out for up to six weeks after suffering a torn calf muscle in the 39-21 RaboDirect PRO12 victory over Cardiff last Friday night.
With Iain Henderson already on the injury list for a similar period and Dan Tuohy one of 10 Ulster players called up to Joe Schmidt’s Ireland panel ahead of the November Test series, Ulster are thin on the ground in the engine room ahead of this week’s league visit to Scarlets.
Nick Williams is set to return for the Welsh trip as he recovers from a hip problem.
Hooker Rob Herring, who would be first choice for the game this weekend with Rory Best on international duty did not train yesterday but was expected to be fit for selection.
Craig Gilroy (ankle) remains on the casualty list.
Meanwhile, Ulster scrumhalf, Ruan Pienaar has been included in the South African squad ahead of their European Tour.
The Boks will play Wales, Scotland and France next month during the regular Autumn international test series in the Northern Hemisphere.
South Africa, runners up to New Zealand in the recent Rugby Championship, also recalled three members of the 2007 World Cup-winning squad for the tour.
Lock Bakkies Botha, centre Jaque Fourie and winger JP Pietersen have all been included in the 32-man selection.