Henderson a Six Nations doubt as Vito snubs Ulster
Iain Henderson looks set to miss at least some of the Six Nations after Ulster confirmed that he will see a surgeon about the "significant tear" he has suffered to his left hamstring.
The Ireland lock was one of the stars of the World Cup and was set to take over from Paul O'Connell this spring, but now Joe Schmidt may have to plan without him.
Ulster have not specified a timescale for his return, but surgery could put him under pressure to make an appearance against Wales on February 7.
His fellow Ireland second-row Dan Tuohy is out for two months after he fractured his right ankle and suffered ligament damage to boot. Full-back Peter Nelson dislocated his mid-foot and is out for the season, while Darren Cave will miss both games against Toulouse after he suffered a shoulder injury.
There was further bad news for Ulster, who look set to miss out on their No 1 transfer target Victor Vito as the All Black moves closer to joining French club La Rochelle next season.
The northern province are targeting an international No 8 to replace Nick Williams and have made a sizeable offer to the World Cup winning back-row, but he appears to have opted for a move to the Top 14 instead.
That leaves Ulster with a job on their hands to identify another world class target who meets with IRFU approval to replace Kiwi Williams, who is set to depart at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, former Ireland international Conor O'Shea has turned down an approach from Italy to replace Jacques Brunel as their head coach.
The Harlequins boss was the leading candidate to take over the Azzurri who parted company with their French supremo after exiting the World Cup at the pool stage, but he has decided to remain in London.
"It's flattering but my job is here," he said.