Sport Rugby

Friday 23 August 2019

Ulster hope Stockdale can play part in play-offs

Ulster are hopel of having Jacob Stockdale back from injury. Photo: Sportsfile
Ulster are hopel of having Jacob Stockdale back from injury. Photo: Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Ulster remain hopeful that Jacob Stockdale can play a part in their Guinness PRO14 play-off bid but Marty Moore's season is over.

The tighthead prop has been sent to a specialist to review the extent of the damage he suffered to his ankle ligaments in Friday's win over Edinburgh. He was taken off 10 minutes into the province's impressive win.

Although he already faced an uphill battle to force his way into Joe Schmidt's plans for the World Cup, the former Leinster and Wasps front-row risks losing further ground if he is unable to report for training in late July.

Moore has not been recalled to the Ireland set-up since returning from England and was last capped in 2015, but his late-season performances have put him in firm contention for a late bid at making the squad.

With Tadhg Furlong firmly first choice, the competition for two more tighthead spots is between Andrew Porter, John Ryan and Finlay Bealham, who is also out with injury.

Blow In the short term, Moore's absence is a serious blow to Ulster's hopes of winning the PRO14.

The province lack depth in the front-row and will now be looking to Ross Kane and Tom O'Toole to see them through. Rory Best is also in a battle to make it back for the PRO14 quarter-final against Connacht in two weeks' time.

With Will Addison's season already over, Dan McFarland will be counting on Stockdale overcoming his hamstring issue in time for the clash with the western province.

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The Ireland star also picked up the strain in the impressive 25-7 win over Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday night.

Ulster's remaining regular-season match sees Leinster visit Belfast on Saturday week, with both sides assured of their places at the top of Conference B.

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