When you had the season Ulster have endured, thoughts of moving quickly on to the 2018-19 campaign would be perfectly understandable, yet Rory Best is not done with 2017/2018 just yet, not while there is a Champions Cup place still grab.
While Ulster’s players and management insist that the focus is entirely on Saturday’s lunchtime clash with Pool 1 leaders La Rochelle, it’s become clearer who will be replacing Christian Leali’ifano when the Wallaby’s short-term contract ends this month.
Ireland and Lions winger Tommy Bowe faces up to eight weeks out of the game after suffering a shoulder injury when he came on as a replacement in Ulster’s thumping 38-7 defeat by Leinster at the RDS on Saturday evening.
Leinster’s failure to make the Guinness Pro12 play-offs was always likely to hurt them come yesterday’s European Champions Cup draw and so it proved, with the three-time winners being landed in a pool alongside triple champions Toulon, English runners-up Bath and Wasps.
European Cup winner Bryn Cunningham is the new Ulster team manager. The 36-year-old former Ireland A and Dungannon full-back will have a role similar to that of departed Director of Rugby David Humphreys in dealing with players’ contracts plus other incidentals associated with the senior Ulster squad.
Ulster head coach Matt Williams has Darren Cave, Paddy Wallace, Ian Humphreys, Rory Best, Justin Fitzpatrick and Stephen Ferris from his 24-man squad ahead of the trip to play Stade Francais in this Saturday's Heineken Cup match against Stade Francais at the Stade Jean Bouin.