Bernard Jackman says any move for Leinster’s Joey Carbery or Munster’s JJ Hanrahan could depend on Ulster’s flexibility regarding the terms of a short-term switch.
With Christian Lealifano departing the province at the end of January and Paddy Jackson still unavailable for selection, Les Kiss is on the search for a potential short-term solution.
The Director of Rugby says the 1999 European champions have looked "internally in Ireland and externally" for a replacement and Carbery and Hanrahan have been touted as potential targets.
Carbery is likely to see more gametime at Kingspan Stadium in the number 10 position, while Hanrahan too could showcase his undoubted qualities in the pivotal position with Ian Keatley and Tyler Bleyendaal ahead in the pecking order at Munster.
Speaking on 2fm’s Game On programme, former Ireland international Jackman says a move for either player would make sense, but could hinge on the terms of the deal.
"I think it is realistic if they can convince Leo Cullen or Johann van Graan to release the player.
"It depends on how flexible Ulster are willing to be. If they say, ‘we want Joey Carbery and he has got to stay with us until June’, I’d say there is very little likelihood of any deal being done.
"But if they were to say, ‘we will give him back on a 24-hour injury call back’ and Joey wanted to go and get game time and that suited everybody, potentially it could happen."
In a difficult position to find a stop-gap solution, Jackman believes looking to their provincial rivals remains the best course of action for Ulster.
"If Ulster don’t get a player from one of the Irish provinces, it could be difficult to find someone of quality"
"It’s hard in the foreign market to get somebody to come in for five, six months. Not many 10s are off contract," he said.
"If they don’t get a player from one of the Irish provinces, it could be difficult to find someone of quality."