Best's broken arm adds to Ulster injury woes
Ulster's worst fears have been realised with the loss of key players as important Pro12 and Heineken Cup fixtures loom on the horizon.
Rory Best, Nick Williams, Lewis Stevenson and possibly Iain Henderson will miss the European back-to-back clashes with Treviso in December while there are also doubts over scrum-half duo Michael Heaney and Ian Porter.
The biggest blow, of course, was to Best when it was confirmed that the Ireland hooker had broken the radius bone in his right arm in the shattering defeat by the All Blacks.
He is expected to be out for at least six weeks, while the same time-scale has been put on back-row Williams who had a recurrence of a calf injury which saw him miss Ulster's last three games.
Second-row Stevenson twisted his right knee, injuring his medial ligaments, during the game with Edinburgh last Friday night and will be out for six weeks at least.
Henderson, meanwhile, had just returned to action after a four-week absence with a dislocated big toe, but an MRI scan on a hamstring injury which forced the big lock off early in that Ravenhill game could confirm more bad news for Ulster.
It was also confirmed that winger Michael Allen, who got a knee to the head against Edinburgh, was taken off due to concussion. He will follow normal return-to-play protocols.
Skipper Johann Muller (calf) and Jared Payne (groin) have been progressing well in their rehab. A decision on their involvement for this week's Pro12 clash away to Zebre will be taken later in the week.