Ulster have been left reeling with the news that Jared Payne, their big-name summer signing, is likely to be out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The versatile 25-year-old, who played for the Blues in the Super 15 last season, came off during the 12-23 RaboDirect PRO12 loss to Treviso and was clearly shown to be distraught.
Having put pen to paper on a three-year deal at Ravenhill, Payne made his debut in the 20-3 RaboDirect PRO12 defeat of the Blues but had already been in the wars with a dead leg.
A club statement read: “Following his early retirement from the Ulster v Treviso game on Friday evening, Ulster Rugby has confirmed that Jared Payne has ruptured his Achilles tendon.
“While at this early stage it is not possible to put an exact timeframe on the length of time that he will be out of action, the injury is likely to rule him out for a considerable period of months.”
Adam D’Arcy came off the bench for him and also filled the No.15 shirt for the Dragons match he missed although Brian McLaughlin does have the luxury of three weeks to bed his internationals back into his set-up before the trip to Scarlets on October 29.