Tommy Bowe was stretchered from the field with a suspected knee ligament injury during Ulster’s defeat to Northampton Saints in the Heineken Cup today.

Bowe looked in deep pain after a collision in the closing minutes, with no official diagnosis on the injury in the aftermath of the game.

It was a worrying sight for Ulster and Ireland supporters ahead of the next round of matches in the competition and the beginning of the RBS 6 Nations next February.

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe was left disappointed from the first defeat of the season for his side.

However, the New Zealander had no argument over the result and felt that his side would still bounce back and remain very much in control of Pool Four.

"It's sad because it's our first loss but we got beaten by a better team," Anscombe said.

"We're still a good team and we'll bounce back.

"It happens and you've got to acknowledge it and respect it as they did well and deserved their victory. We've got to go back and look at what we need to do better," stated the Kiwi.

"Our execution was poor and we suffered from it. They got 10 points up in the first 18 minutes.

"We held them out well but I think we created enough opportunities to score points and we weren't patient enough and didn't have enough composure at crucial times.

"We tried to force it and they brought a little more passion than us to start with. Their physicality at the start got them going.

"We weren't complacent but we were a little more passive early on and we created enough opportunities but we just weren't composed enough at crucial times and we didn't take our points when we had opportunities.

"Our destiny is still in our own hands," Anscombe said regarding the return to Heineken Cup action in January.

"We're not relying on other teams to see how it goes, if we win our last two games we'll qualify. Not every team has that opportunity, we have and we need to take it."