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16.47 20 Dec 2017


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For the past few months, Ulster and Ireland's Jared Payne has been absent from the rugby field.

The versatile New Zealand born back had been part of the British and Irish Lions tour to his birth nation during the summer but has been sidelined as a result of persistent headaches.

As he's been making his first steps back on the training field, a return date has not been set but Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss spoke to our own Oisin Langan about Payne's situation.

Les Kiss, Iain Henderson and John Cooney were speaking at Kingspan’s Ulster Rugby media event in Dublin today, December 20th, ahead of Saturday’s interprovincial derby with Connacht. ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

"First and foremost, the whole process has been about the player first and the welfare of Jared and that would stand for any player in any situation with an injury," said Kiss.

"Look, there's been a process that's been in place and a lot of investigation and getting the right consults, the right care given to Jared because first and foremost he's a good person, he wants to put the jersey on and he's got a young family and we have to make sure it fits and works for him.

Lions' Jared Payne with Dr Eanna Falvey during the summer tour ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

"And yes, he has been training for a number of weeks now and doing more and more contact. He's getting closer and closer, that's all I can say. The dangerous thing is to put timelines on it.

"We would hope that we can see more progression over the next couple of weeks and see where we get to. But we're optimistic. We're working with Jared on this. He's been brilliant. It's not been easy by any stretch of the imagination but he knows that his welfare's first and foremost." 


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