Cave ruled out for six weeks
January 18, 2012
Darren Cave faces six weeks out © Getty Images
Ulster have received a blow ahead of their do or die clash against Clermont Auvergne with the news that centre Darren Cave is out for six weeks with a foot injury.
The centre sustained the injury during their epic 41-7 win over Leicester and an MRI scan has revealed the extent of the damage. Cave missed large sections of Ulster's campaign last season through a hamstring injury and has shown signs of being back to his best in recent times.
And ahead of their mouthwatering tie against Clermont, coach Brian McLaughlin has impressed the need for his players to ignore any concept of finishing in the best runners-up spots and instead go to the Stade Marcel Michelin with the goal of picking up the win. Ulster sit atop of Pool 4 with 19 points and a win at Clermont - who are on 16 - would guarantee them a spot in the Heineken Cup knockout stages but if the Top 14 side prevail then Ulster will hope to secure a runners-up place.
But coach McLaughlin only has one result on his mind. "What it has come down to is the fact that we have to go to Clermont and win," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "They are a top-class side; any team that goes to Aironi and scores 82 points - as they've just done - is quality. And their home record is terrific, there's no denying that.
"But we can't dwell on those things. We know what we have to do and we just have to get on with it. We wanted to go into the last game in control of our own destiny and we've got that."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup
Following Saturday's shock announcement, we look at the highs and the lows of Ewen McKenzie's brief stint as Wallabies coach.