Talismanic scrumhalf, Ruan Piennar will miss Ulster’s final two pool games in the European Champions Cup later this month
The South African suffered a right knee injury during last Saturday Guinness PRO12 defeat in Leinster.
Pienaar underwent minor surgery yesterday and Ulster Rugby told the News Letter last night they were hopeful he would be back playing in the next Guinness PRO12 game at home to Edinburgh on February 10.
However, with an injury list which reached into high double figures this week and Ulster desperately needing to win their European games against Exeter (away, January 15)and Bordeaux (home, January 21) handsomely to give them a chance of making the last eight, Pienaar’s absent is an exceptional blow for Les Kiss.
Meanwhile, Ulster’s internationals Rory Best, Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson return to the starting XV for Friday night’s PRO12 game away to Scarlets after being rested under IRFU player welfare protocols last week.
The trio are among nine changes to the side which is looking to win at Parc Y Scarlets for the first time since 2012.