Pro14: Charles Piutau to miss Ulster's trip to Connacht

Charles Piutau will miss Ulster's game at the Sportsground
Charles Piutau will miss Ulster's game at the Sportsground

Charles Piutau has been ruled out of Ulster's Pro14 game against Connacht at the Sportsground on Saturday night because of bruising to his lower leg.

Flanker Chris Henry is doubtful because of a hamstring strain while Rob Herring is following the return-to-play protocols after suffering concussion.

Ulster's lengthy injury list already included captain Rory Best, Marcell Coetzee, Tommy Bowe and Kyle McCall.

Luke Marshall, Johnny Simpson, Rodney Ah You and Jean Deysel are also absent.

Jared Payne is still missing for the trip to Galway because of recurring headaches which have ruled him out of action since the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in the summer.

Best (ankle), Marshall (Achilles), Bowe (hamstring), Coetzee (knee), Simpson (wrist) and McCall (shoulder) have been unavailable in recent weeks.

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Ulster return to Pro14 action after back-to-back wins over Harlequins put them in contention for qualification for the quarter-final stages of the Champions Cup.

After facing Connacht, Ulster face two more inter-provincial Irish derbies at home to Munster on New Year's Day and then away to Leinster on Saturday 6 January.

Les Kiss's side drew 32-32 away to the Dragons in their last game in the competition on 1 December and lie third in Conference B, five points behind the Scarlets and two behind Leinster.

Connacht defeated Brive twice over the last few weeks in the European Challenge Cup, having previously lost their last two Pro14 encounters on the road against Zebre and Cardiff Blues.

The westerners lie fifth in Conference A with three wins and seven losses from their 10 fixtures.

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