Ulster blow as in-form Gilroy fractures eye socket
Craig Gilroy could face a lengthy lay-off after it was confirmed that he fractured his eye socket during Ulster's Champions Cup win away to Toulouse last Sunday.
The Irish winger has been in scintillating form and has been Ulster's top scorer this season but, despite the province's optimism that he may only miss a week, the chances are high that a longer lay-off may be required.
"Craig Gilroy fractured his eye socket in the win over Toulouse, ruling him out of the St Stephen's Day tie v Connacht," said an Ulster statement.
In the 11th minute of the Ernest Wallon contest, left wing Gilroy (pictured) was attempting to retrieve a pass towards his touchline from second-row colleague Franco van der Merwe,
The pass was behind his shoulder, which forced the Ulsterman to check, allowing his marker, Kunatani Kunabuli, making his first European start at home, to bundle him into touch.
It appears from the video footage that Gilroy received the impact from the follow through or as he hit the ground, and not from the actual tackle itself which appeared to be legal.
Meanwhile, Harlequins, one of the potential targets for Leinster out-half Ian Madigan, may have cooled their interest after announcing that out-half Nick Evans has signed a new contract with the club.
The 35-year-old former New Zealand international joined Quins in 2008 and has scored 2,024 points in 181 appearances for the Premiership club.
"Nick is the consummate professional and his competitiveness still burns more than it ever has," said director of rugby Conor O'Shea.
"He is a massive influence on the group and he has become a true legend in the history of Harlequins."
Madigan continues to be a target for several French and English clubs.