Ulster and Ireland utility back Jared Payne has opened up on his struggles to recover from the head injury which has kept him sidelined since last summer's Lions tour to New Zealand.

Payne played - and scored a try - in the tourists' victory over the Chiefs back in June but was subsequently stood down for the next game against the Hurricanes due to persistent headaches.

He has not played a competitive game of rugby since.

Payne, speaking to Ulster Rugby TV, revealed he's become involved in some coaching with the province to keep himself involved but admitted he still doesn't feel 100% and is unsure when he will return to action.

"I was playing in that Chiefs game and took a bit of a whack towards the end of it," said the 32-year-old.

"I had to come off but I didn’t think anything of it, (I was just) a little bit headachey and sore that week, but nothing too bad.

"Come the captain’s run day for the next game, I think it was the following Tuesday, I got home and got back on the bus and felt a bit travel sick, pretty yuck.

"Ever since then I haven’t been quite right.

"It’s been a bit stop-start. There’s been times when it hasn’t been too bad and other times when it’s been pretty bad.

"We’ve tried different things to get it right and been trying to get back but unfortunately nothing has cleared everything up just yet.

"We’ll see how we go with a bit of rest over the next month and go from there."

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In the meantime he's dipped his toe into the coaching setup.

Ulster travel to Scarlets in the Pro14 this Saturday after last Friday's narrow loss to Edinburgh.

And Payne said his team-mates must relish the chance to take on such a polished outfit, who will be without several big guns doing battle at the Aviva Stadium against Ireland for Wales earlier in the day. 

"I've been helping out with the coaches a bit, wherever they need me. I'm happy to help out. I'm doing a bit of work now on the defence side of things.

"They're a class team aren't they? They're not the champions for no reason. They'll move the ball around, they've got nice little strike plays they can use. They're going to test us everywhere.  

"It's going to be a good examination of where we're at."