RUGBY: Ulster could consider Jacob Stockdale at centre

Ulster's Tommy Bowe suffered a hamstring injury against Harlequins
Ulster's Tommy Bowe suffered a hamstring injury against Harlequins

British Lion Tommy Bowe has been ruled out of Ulster’s  European Champions Cup match in Belfast against Harlequins.

Bowe started in the centre in last week’s 17-5 victory over the English side at The Stoop, but was replaced seven minutes into the second half.

Head coach, Jono Gibbes, confirmed on Tuesday that Bowe had a hamstring issue and would miss the return game against Harlequins.

Ulster are set to again be without captain and hooker Rory Best as he continues to recover from a foot infection.

There are options for Ulster at second centre - one being rising star Jacob Stockdale who has played there before, although it was last season against Glasgow in the PRO12.

Luke Marshall remains injured, but there are alternatives in Darren Cave and Louis Ludik - which would keep Stockdale on the wing where he has been grabbing all the headlines in the past few months.

Ulster's Jacob Stockdale could get a run out at centre

Ulster's Jacob Stockdale could get a run out at centre

In nine starts with both Ulster and Ireland this season the 21-year-old three-quarter has scored nine tries - the last of those coming against Harlequins on Sunday.

The Pool One victory over Harlequins pushed Ulster into second place in the table, seven points behind runaway and leaders La Rochelle who have taken maximum match points from their three games.

With the exception of a switch for the injured Bowe, Ulster are expected to go with a similar team.

Gibbes said “With the short turnaround it is a balance of rewarding the guys for those efforts who did the job and we might need a little freshen up on a couple of things, but I would not see a massive turnaround not from a Sunday to a Friday game.”