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Has Kitshoff played his last game for Ulster?

INJURY UPDATE: Five starters from Ulster’s Challenge Cup quarterfinal loss to Clermont Auvergne are unavailable for Friday’s United Rugby Championship clash with Cardiff after picking up injuries.

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South Africa’s two-time World Cup-winning loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff headlines the list after picking up a knee injury in the Massif Central.

Ireland’s 81-cap lock Iain Henderson was another casualty from the match, picking up a toe injury.

He will miss Cardiff’s visit alongside two other Ireland internationals – Rob Herring and Nick Timoney.

Hooker Herring came off shortly before the half-time break with a hamstring problem, while flank Timoney suffered another toe injury in the second half after scoring two tries.

Fullback Stewart Moore is the fifth and final victim of the 53-14 loss at the Stade Marcel Michelin.

The 24-year-old only managed five minutes of the match before being forced from the field with a hamstring injury, which will keep him out.

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Ulster have only confirmed the quintet’s absence this weekend, and have not given any suggestion as to how they will be out beyond then.

As a result, it is unclear whether Kitshoff has played his last game for Ulster or not, with his exit fast approaching.

Not only will the loss to Clermont psychologically affect Ulster moving forward, but the match has also had a catastrophic impact on the fitness of the squad.

This could hamper their chances of climbing up the URC table with five matches remaining.

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After the loss to Clermont, Ulster interim head coach Richie Murphy said the door has now been opened for new players to come in as they focus on making the top eight of the URC.

“We have a different competition now, we have to try to qualify in the top eight of the URC,” he said.

“We have two home games, we played four away games over the past four weeks. To have two home games in a row is a new focus and we will have to rotate some of our players because they have been through a tough few weeks.

“There will be an opportunity for other guys to come in and stake a claim for the jersey.”

@RugbyPass

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