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Published: 16:56 | 11/4/16

Ulster trio set to miss Zebre match

Les Kiss' side lie fifth in Pro 12 table

Ulster are expected to be without Nick Williams, Stuart McCloskey and Louis Ludik for the Pro12 match against Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on Saturday.

Ulster, who lie fifth with three fixtures of the Pro 12 season remaining, need to finish fourth to qualify for the play-offs, with matches against leaders Leinster at Ravenhill and the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium to come.

And Kiss will have to do without Williams (shoulder) and Ludik (groin) in Italy, while Ireland centre McCloskey is "highly likely" to miss the game with a shoulder injury.

"It would be better if it was a bonus-point win on Saturday but every team fighting for a top-four spot will have pressure this weekend," Ulster director of rugby Kiss said.

"The Pro12 has been as tough as it's ever been and that has made it appealing.

"It's never easy to play away against Italian teams and and we know it is going to be tough - we can't go there with a soft mentality.

"Getting a top-four place is a realistic ambition and after this game will have a clearer picture of things.

""We just have to look after ourselves and the only thing that matters is this game with Zebre."

In other Ulster news, Marcell Coetzee has been ruled out for nine months with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

The 24-year-old South Africa back row, who will join Ulster next season on a three-year deal, suffered the knee injury during the Sharks’ 24-9 defeat to Lions on Saturday.

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