Ulster’s hopes of ending a trophy famine that stretches back to 2006 have been jolted by the loss of tighthead Marty Moore for the rest of the season.
The former Leinster front row, who joined the northern province last summer from Wasps, was injured in last Friday’s win at PRO14 conference rivals Edinburgh.
Moore’s problem has been diagnosed as a season-ending ankle ligament injury and he will see a specialist later this week.
He lasted just 10 minutes of the match at Murrayfield and will now miss Ulster’s remaining regular season league match, the dead rubber at home to Leinster on April 27.
More crucially, he will then miss the semi-final eliminator versus Irish rivals Connacht the following weekend and any further matches if they progress in the play-offs.
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) April 17, 2019
Ulster’s 29-7 win at Edinburgh, coupled with Munster’s victory over Treviso, has ensured that Dan McFarland’s squad will finish in second place in Conference B where they will cross-over and face third place Connacht from the other conference.
Losing Stockdale for the run-in would exacerbate Ulster’s declining back line stock as utility Will Addison has already been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign following back surgery.
In the forwards, skipper Rory Best hasn’t played since hobbling out of the March 30 Champions Cup quarter-final loss at Leinster. It’s believed McFarland’s staff are hopeful the veteran will overcome the ankle problem and will be available for the early May play-off versus Connacht.
Together, WE are Rugby in Ulster ?? pic.twitter.com/aGM8hRIH2I
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) April 16, 2019
McFarland signed off from the win over Edinburgh praising his team’s defence for repelling the Scots. “We knew they would get a lot of possession so it was important we defended well,” he said.
“We wanted to build that white wall but that required a lot of effort and a lot of system application which they did. Jared Payne runs a very tight ship there for us. Edinburgh tested us, but we held really strong.”
WATCH: The RugbyPass fly-on-the-wall look at the 2018 PRO14 final
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