Fresh injury concern for Ulster ahead of PRO12 semi-final

Ulster's Chris Henry scores a try
Ulster's Chris Henry scores a try

Ulster’s influential lock, Franco van der Merwe, could be a doubt for their Guinness PRO12 semi-final against Glasgow.

The South African was last seen leaving the Scotstoun pitch on crutches on Saturday afternoon after suffering a right leg injury.

Glasgow maintained their 100 per cent record at Scotstoun this season with a 32-10 win over Ulster in the last of the regular season PRO12 league games.

Four tries ensured a bonus point and a vital home tie in next week’s play-offs. They will face Ulster at Scotstoun on Friday, May 23, kick-off 7.45pm.

Van der Merwe was one of only three players retained in the starting team from the previous outing against Munster a week earlier.

But the lock, who made this season’s Guinness PRO12 dream team, was retired after 19 minutes.

He would be a major doubt for next week’s game, although the full medical assessment will not be known until Monday.

Ulster are also waiting on the progess reports on injuries to Craig Gilroy (hamstring), Callum Black (hamstring), Wiehahn Herbst (toe), Darren Cave (shoulder), Dan Tuohy (hip) and Jared Payne (ankle).

Head coach, Neil Doak, admited that he expected there to be a few changes to the side which would face Glasgow next week.

“We obviously had a number of injuries after last week’s game. Some of our guys were injured and unable to train until later in the week so we made a few changes to look after a few bodies.

“We may have a few changes for next week. We had a few injury problems but if they come through there will be a few changes made for next Friday night.”

On returning to Scotstoun, Doak said: “We knew that if the other results went as they should have we would probably have an away semi-final. We know that we’ll be back here next Friday night.

“At the moment Glasgow have the upper hand. They’ll be favourites but we’ll get down to work on Monday and make sure we have a good week and come Friday night we’ll hopefully be in for a competitive game for 80 minutes.”