Ulster squad depleted by injuries

Date published: April 8 2014

Four of Ulster's most influential players – including Ruan Pienaar – face lengthy spells on the sidelines as the PRO12 hots up.

Four of Ulster's most influential players – including Ruan Pienaar – face lengthy spells on the sidelines as the PRO12 hots up.

Saturday's gut-wrenching 17-15 loss to Saracens at Ravenhill eliminated the province from the Heineken Cup, and the defeat took its toll in more ways than one.

Pienaar suffered a recurrence of the shoulder injury that threatened to curtail his involvement with the quarter-final altogether, and will be out for at least six weeks.

Ireland hooker Rory Best's ankle injury has been described as a “significant sprain” and is set to miss between six and eight weeks of rugby.

Fellow Ireland internationals Roger Wilson and Dan Tuohy suffered a fractured thumb and fractured hand respectively, with the latter set to undergo surgery.

In addition, winger Andrew Trimble was withdrawn from the Sarries clash after picking up a concussion, and must now follow return to play protocols, while prop John Afoa sustained a back injury ruling him out of this weekend's game against Connacht.

Ulster currently sit third in the PRO12, on course for the playoffs, but face a tricky run-in, playing all three teams occupying the other playoff spots after the Connacht derby.

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