Tommy Bowe's shock omission puts focus on Ulster back-three
Ulster are expected to travel to Bordeaux without their marquee signing Charles Piutau as he struggles to recover from the concussion that kept him out of last week's defeat to Connacht.
Piutau joins Stuart McCloskey, Louis Ludik, Darren Cave on the casualty list of backs who will miss the trip for the Champions Cup opener on Sunday.
Despite all four's absence, Tommy Bowe (pictured) has to make do with a place in Ulster's 'A' side for their British and Irish Cup opener against Jersey at Shaw's Bridge this evening.
Bowe made his return from a lengthy knee injury off the bench against Ospreys two weeks ago and started the game in Galway last week.
The Monaghan-born winger isn't the only Ireland international relegated to the second string as Dan Tuohy skippers the 'A' side.
In more positive news, fellow wing Andrew Trimble (foot) is line to make his first appearance of the season, while Stuart Olding (groin) and Luke Marshall (concussion) trained together this week and are expected to start in midfield.
Director of rugby Les Kiss is confident that the trio are fit enough to return.
"You'd probably be loath to throw them all in at once but you know a couple of them live for these occasions," he said.
"Some have been out for a longer period of time, some for only three to four to five weeks, but it will be horses for courses.
"When you've got players who have played at that level or international level, you're not afraid to put them into that situation."
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