Thursday 14 December 2017

Bowe could return if Gilroy is ruled out

Ulster haved ruled out the prospect of Tommy Bowe making a surprise return on Saturday
Ulster haved ruled out the prospect of Tommy Bowe making a surprise return on Saturday
David Kelly

David Kelly

Ulster have officially ruled out the prospect of Tommy Bowe making a surprise return against Leicester on Saturday, a pivotal Heineken Cup tie that will decide which side gets a home quarter-final. However, with Craig Gilroy joining prop Declan Fitzpatrick as a concussion victim following last Friday's bruising win against Montpellier, the Monaghan man may yet be sprung into action, WRITES DAVID KELLY.

Gilroy and his Ulster team-mate Andrew Trimble clashed heads in the second half of Friday's 27-16 win, where his side's failure to secure a winning bonus point means that a Leicester win by any margin this Saturday will send the northerners on the road in April.

While it was initially thought that a broken nose was the limit of the damage, Gilroy saw a specialist last night and he will now be bound by the strict player protocols in relation to concussion. Replacement prop Fitzpatrick also suffered concussion and joins Gilroy on the doubtful list for Saturday.

Meanwhile, Trimble has spoken of his honour in breaking David Humphreys' record of being Ulster's most-capped player in Europe after making his 58th consecutive appearance.

"I'm really proud of that, and especially delighted," said Trimble, who has made a total of 175 appearances for UIster. "David Humphreys is a person who I looked up to as a player and a professional. To pass his record makes it a little bit special."

Trimble knows that Ulster face a massive test on Saturday. "We will have to roll up our sleeves and do our homework," he said.

Paddy Jackson knows what it is like to face Leicester on their home patch.

"What struck me when I ran out of tunnel was the wall of noise and everyone being so close to the pitch," he said. "It was one of those places where you want to go to, and games like this are the ones you want to be involved in, so I'm really looking forward to it."

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