Cardiff Blues are set to be without Dmitri Arhip for two more weeks as he aims to return to action in time for the festive derbies.
The Moldovan tighthead withdrew from the playing squad set to face Lyon back in October and has been on the sideline since then, with the muscle injury suffered turning out to be worse than was initially thought.
A target has been set to get Arhip back playing in time for the Dragons home game that kicks off the Welsh derbies on the 21st November, but it means John Mulvihill will be without his most powerful scrummager for the double header against English champions Saracens.
He will also continue to be without Josh Navidi and Owen Lane, with both players hoping to get back to playing in time for those all-important festive derbies, although it could well be that they are not back until the last round of European fixtures in early January.
To add to Mulvihill’s worries he has to sweat on the fitness of midfield duo Willis Halaholo and Rey Lee-Lo.
Hot-stepping Halaholo missed the trip to Ulster after having a scan on a muscle injury early last week, with the full extent of the injury currently unknown outside of The Vale.
Meanwhile Lee-Lo was withdrawn in the first two minutes of the second half at the Kingspan Stadium after failing to recover from what appeared to be a dead leg picked up during a tackle in the first half.
In better news though, Tom James is now back in full training after recovering from an injury picked up on Cardiff Blues A duty, Ben Murphy made his playing comeback for Cardiff RFC on Friday following an arm/shoulder injury and Matthew Rees is also back in training working his way towards full fitness.
There has also been news on Rhun Williams recently, with John Mulvihill saying, “There is progress, but it has been slow.
“His comeback could be two or six months, but it is something we are working through with him. It is slow progress but we have seen some progress in his injury and he is happy with where he is at.”