European Champions Cup: New dad Tuohy happy to be hurting

Dan Tuohy relishing return to action after injury absence

Ulster lock Dan Tuohy was delighted to be "still sore" on Tuesday after making his return to action after 11 weeks out in Saturday's European win over the Scarlets.

"Ribs busted. Shoulder sore. My neck is still sore from the scrums," smiled the Bristol-born forward.

The aching bones and muscles were the result of Tuohy's return after 11 weeks out because of a broken arm.

His period out also saw the 29-year-old becoming a father for the first time.

Jackson James Tuohy arrived five weeks earlier than expected last month but his beaming dad is pleased to report that the "little one" and mum Keely are "doing really well" after arriving home last weekend.

"It took us a little bit by surprise when my missus's waters broke at 3am on the Wednesday morning," recalls the nine-times capped Ireland international.

European Champions Cup Pool Three

"I had to reach the lads at work and tell them that I needed a couple of extra days off while they were getting ready to play Munster.

"You might see me a bit more sleep deprived but I'm enjoying it. I'm looking forward to having him around for Christmas."

The good news kept coming for Tuohy after the new arrival as he got the all-clear to pull on the Ulster shirt again in last weekend's European Champions Cup encounter.

With his arm injury finally healed, Tuohy made an immediate impact on his return to action as his line-out work in particular, must have had him running Darren Cave close for the man-of-the-match award.

"My legs held out but on Sunday and yesterday I was wrecked and hobbling around the house. Thankfully I don't feel too bad today," added the former Gloucester player on Tuesday.

The win over the Scarlets also saw the hugely influential Ruan Pienaar returning to Ulster duty for the first time this season.

European Champions Cup: Ulster's pool now wide open says Doak

However, that still represented scant relief on the injury front as Stuart Olding, Stuart McCloskey, Nick Williams and Wiehahn Herbst picked up knocks which are likely to rule them out of this weekend's return game in Wales.

"Hendy (Iain Henderson) was checking on his housemate Stu (Stuart Olding) in the physio room during the game and there were lads just streaming in with Nick, Wiehahn and then Stuart McCloskey being brought in."

Tuohy's spell out included doing a spot of work for BBC Radio Ulster as he watched his Ireland team-mates produce a sensational autumn campaign.

"It was extremely tough to watch them because the boys were doing so well.

"And not being able to affect Ulster's first two European Cup games that we had at the start was frustrating as well so it was a tough period for me.

"But now, it's just hopefully a case of full steam ahead for the rest of the year for me.

"I just need to get back to playing rugby. I've only played four games this year."

But with big games coming up including Sunday's European match and the Boxing Day Pro12 derby against Connacht, Tuohy has plenty of time to get himself back to fitness and even catch Joe Schmidt's eye ahead of the Six Nations.