Piutau to miss Barbarians games for Ulster as McCarthy forced to retire
Charles Piutau will miss the opportunity to play with and against the Barbarians at the end of this season after the All Black was sent for ankle surgery.
Ulster's marquee man was scheduled to line up alongside clubmate Ruan Pienaar for the side against England at Twickenham on May 28, before switching sides to face the men in black and white when they visit Kingspan Stadium on June 1.
However, the ankle problem that de-powered the Kiwi towards the end of the season needs an operation and he will be out for eight weeks.There was good news for the northern province as Stuart Olding and Wiehahn Herbst came through their operations successfully and will be fit for pre-season training.
Connacht, meanwhile, want to send Pat Lam off on a high in Galway next weekend by confirming their place in next year's Champions Cup, according to their Kiwi flanker Jake Heenan.
The Connacht powerhouse knows they have a tough task on their hands as they must overcome Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens first.
But Heenan reckons sending the league-winning coach off on a damp squib like their final regular season game against Scarlets is not the way they want to leave it.
"It's huge. I know for me personally it was a bit disappointing to have that game against Scarlets here where we didn't perform," he said.
"I would love nothing more than to have a crack to finish here on a good note, finish our season on a good note in front of our fans and finish for Pat here, put on a really good performance. It's slightly different as opposed to last year where you are building to win a title, to win the PRO12.
"It's building to next year now so we are really, our excitement is coming from another opportunity to play against the Toulouses, the Toulons, the Clermonts, those really big clubs.
Connacht yesterday confirmed that JP Cooney, Shane Delahunt, Steve Crosbie, Tom Farrell, Conor Carey, Dominic Robertson McCoy and Stacey Ili will remain at the province next season.
Meanwhile, former Ireland second-row Mike McCarthy (left) has been forced to retire from rugby.
The Leinster man was due to join French side Narbonne at the end of the season, but an elbow injury has forced him to call it a day.
"It's just sad because I've played my last game without really knowing it, without really being able to savour it or take it in," he told the Leinster rugby website.
The English-born lock won 19 caps for Ireland, last featuring against France in the 2016 Six Nations.