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Ulster have suffered a major blow ahead of the new PRO14 campaign with news that prop Gareth Milasinovich will miss much of the new season with a knee ligament injury.
Milasinovich, who can play on both sides of the scrum, arrived from Worcester Warriors earlier this summer and was expected to play a significant part for his new club this season.
Reports suggest that he suffered an ACL tear in pre-season training which could keep him out for nine months.
Although he was born in South Africa, the 26-year-old is Irish-qualified through his grandfather Norman McFarland, a former Ulster player.
He is one of six new recruits for Ulster with Ireland international prop Jack McGrath from Leinster, locks Sam Carter and David O'Connor from Btrumbies and Leinster respectively, versatile back Matt Faddes from the Highlanders and fly-half Bill Johnston from Munster.