| 6.5°C Dublin

Te'o set for return to rescue Leinster as Ulster loom

Ben TE'O is expected to be back to contest a spot for Leinster's PRO12 clash with Ulster at The RDS next Saturday.

The New Zealand centre has been absent since fracturing his forearm on his debut against Edinburgh at the end of October.

Originally pencilled in for six weeks of rehabilitation from surgery, it will be bang on nine weeks away from the game if he should take part against the northern province.

Leinster are badly in need of someone with the power to take them over the gain-line in midfield and that is why he was signed.

Te'o suffered the same injury that has stalled the rise of Rhys Ruddock and a similar recovery would put the Irish flanker outside the cut-off point for the start of the Six Nations.

Ruddock's back row colleague Dominic Ryan will follow the appropriate return-to-play protocols as he makes his way back from concussion.

The flanker took the full force of Donncha O'Callaghan's hip and compounded it by taking another contact from Jack Conan's knee as he fell backwards in Leinster's defeat to Munster in Limerick.

Ireland tight-head Martin Moore is an outside bet for the Ulster clash. It is more likely that he could return from his shoulder injury against Cardiff Blues on Saturday week.

This comes at a time when Tadhg Furlong is getting to grips with the demands of the position.

The upcoming Cardiff match could also signal the remarkable return of Cian Healy from a severe hamstring injury. Initially posted as a doubt for the Six Nations, the loose-head has demonstrated ahead-of-schedule powers of recovery to be as little as two weeks away from a return to action.

The other half of Leinster's greatest twin ball-carrying threat, Seán O'Brien, is a possibility for the game against Castres Olympique in the Champions Cup in what will be a dead rubber for the French club.

Matt O'Connor's men have sunk to fifth in the PRO12 League.The Ospreys lead the way on 40 points from Glasgow Warriors (39), Munster (37) and Ulster (35) with the Blues (32) clear of Connacht in sixth, currently holding a Champions Cup spot, four points ahead of the Scarlets.