Ulster coach Dan McFarland expects to have Ireland World Cup players available for Friday’s United Rugby Championship home game against Munster.
Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Stuart McCloskey and Tom O’Toole were in Ireland’s World Cup squad in France.
O’Toole is set to undergo surgery but McFarland says other Ireland squad members will be in contention to play.
“It’s the end of the three weeks the internationals have to take off,” said the Ulster coach.
“So those guys will be available for selection for next week.”
McFarland was speaking after Ulster suffered an agonising 22-20 defeat by Connacht in Galway after leading the contest 20-3 early in the second half.
Ulster could certainly do with having some of their big guns back given that James Hume, James French and Reuben Crothers are all ruled out of the Munster game after being replaced at the Sportground because of head knocks.
Addison ruled out during pre-match warm-up
In addition, injury-plagued back Will Addison was a last-minute withdrawal from Saturday night’s game after his hamstring tightened up in the pre-match warm-up.
Ulster went into the Connacht game already minus O’Toole, Cormac Izuchukwu, Dave Ewers, Robert Baloucoune, Jacob Stockdale, Michael Lowry and Jude Postlethwaite after they sustained knocks in the win over the Bulls.
“I don’t know about Will. There are a few other guys who might come back,” added McFarland.
“We have a little spate of injuries at the moment, so it’ll be a bit of wait and see for next week.”
Despite inevitable disappointment, McFarland said that positives could be picked out of the defeat which included fly-half Jake Flannery’s display as he scored 15 points including a well-taken try.
“It’s a difficult place to come when you’re standing opposite Jack Carty who is the ‘master of the west wind’, it was always going to be a tough ask for Jake, and I thought he stood up well.
“We had three debutants tonight, Joe Hopes came off the bench, an academy lock. Joe’s going to be a really good player.
“Ben Carson came on for his first cap, and I felt really bad for poor old Reuben.
“Reuben’s first year as a professional coming in, did a really good job in pre-season, earned his start tonight and unfortunately went off very early in the game, so I’m gutted for him. He’ll have his day.”
Source : BBC