Henderson raring to go for Zebre clash
After another injury-riddled campaign, Ulster's Iain Henderson is out to make up for lost time over the season's final weeks.
Following his starring role in Ireland's ultimately disappointing World Cup campaign, Henderson has spent two separate spells on the sidelines with an injured hand and torn hamstring this year and tomorrow's game with Zebre (3pm kick-off) will represent just his sixth of the year for the province.
After missing the first half of last season with a hip problem, the 24-year-old admits it's been frustrating but, with both himself and fellow Irish star Tommy Bowe ready to boost Ulster's top-four hopes, he is aiming to string together a run of games in the Pro12's critical weeks.
"It's been frustrating but you have to take it on the chin," he said. "Tommy was delighted to get back last week (for the 'A' side) as well and he's pulled through that.
"These things happen, you just have to get over it and get back on the horse. It's been a good training week to get under the belt. Everyone is feeling refreshed and we're raring to go at the weekend."
The trip to Parma is vital if Ulster are to have any hope of ending their silverware drought before it exceeds a decade and the side are aiming to build on the momentum of a win against then table-topping Connacht two weeks ago that reinvigorated their play-off charge.
While Henderson, just two outings into his comeback from five months out, perhaps didn't want to be without a game last weekend, he can see the benefit for some of his more fatigued team-mates. He is also wary of a Zebre side with plenty to play for.
"We saw last week it was 14-7 at half-time," said Henderson. "Zebre were 25 minutes away from a win.
"They're fighting for that European spot to be the Italian team in the Champions Cup next season and they'll be coming out all guns blazing trying to get the win."