Ireland and Ulster winger Tommy Bowe is expected to be out for at least two months once he undergoes knee surgery on Monday.
Ulster head coach Neil Doak confirmed the bad news about the knee injury Bowe sustained during last Sunday’s Rugby World Cup defeat when Ireland lost their quarter-final against Argentina.
“Tommy had a second scan this week and it revealed some damage. He will have an operation on Monday. I suppose like all these things once you go in and have a look the full picture will be revealed,” said Doak.
“They are going in to fix something and they will also be looking to see if there is anything else. They definitely know there is a little bit of cartilage damage, but there may be a couple of other bits and pieces that may be found once they have a look around.
“We expect Tommy to be out for at least two months.”
It was disappointing news for Ulster who had welcomed Irish duo Paddy Jackson and Darren Cave back from the World Cup on Friday night – both coming off the bench in Ulster’s 24-17 bonus point win over Cardiff Blues which saw them climb to fourth place.
Tries from Andrew Trimble, Paul Marshall, Nick Williams and Stuart McCloskey saw Ulster go on to equal their unbeaten home record of 14 straight victories in the Guinness PRO12, set over a decade ago.
However, while they secured their third straight bonus point win at home, it was a far from convincing display by Ulster.
“We were scrappy,” admitted Doak, “But it is hard to argue against another bonus point win.
“We are going to Munster next week and that is going to be a tough challenge. We need to look at bringing some form as we go on the road.”