Centre Darren Cave joined the Ireland training squad yesterday in Dublin becoming the 11th player from Ulster to do so since the initial 34-man panel was named by Irish coach, Joe Schmidt last week.
It is a reflection of just how extensive the injury list is for Schmidt with several players unable to train.
Eight Ulster players - Rory Best, Tom Court, Declan Fitzpatrick, Chris Henry, Dan Tuohy, Luke Marshall, Paddy Jackson and Tommy Bowe - were named in the initial squad last week.
On Monday, Andrew Trimble and Roger Wilson were among four players to be added to the group before Cave joined in yesterday.
While there are many positives which can be taken from so many Ulster players being involved with Ireland, it has meant a bit of a disruptive week for the remaining squad ahead of this Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 match against Scarlets.
Ulster assistant coach, Jonny Bell, shared in a joke that the media at yesterday’s weekly press conference might have to stay on for training to give the boys ‘something to run at.’
Bell said: “There are quite a few away and we have a few injuries as well.
“It is great to see so many players involved with Ireland and to have eight called up to the initial 34-man squad is a huge positive for both the players involved and ourselves in the management team.
“However, when you have 11 away and three or four others injured, it does affect the training a bit this week.”
Ulster were not expecting to have any of the initial eight back this weekend, the Irish management keen to see a number of players rested from all the Provinces.
But there was the expectancy that Wilson, Trimble and Cave would all return to Ulster by Thursday ahead of the game in Llanelli.
That would, of course, be dependent on how those Irish players with injury issues go with their assessment and rehab this week.
Bell said: “It does mean we are training without some of the players we expect to have back.
“But it is nothing new for us, we have had these spells during previous Autumn Test series and Six Nations championships.
“Of course it is not ideal, but it has not taken anything away from the job at hand and the focus is firmly on what we have to do in Wales this weekend.
“The other plus to take out of this period is the fact that with several players away there are others who are being given an opportunity having perhaps sat on the bench in the past two or three weeks.”
Winger Michael Allen is one of the players who will start on Saturday against Scarlets - he is among the top try scorers in the league this season and Stuart Olding is a strong candidate to start at outhalf.