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Henry '40-60' to make Edinburgh clash

ULSTER'S Chris Henry is rated as less than a 50pc chance of being fit for Saturday's Heineken Cup semi-final against Edinburgh at Lansdowne Road after an MRI scan on the flanker's lower leg yesterday.

The full diagnosis on his condition is due today but Henry was said to still be in considerable pain around the shin area, with his prospects put at "40-60" of making the team for Dublin.

"We are still a little concerned and afraid there may be severe muscle or ligament damage which the scan will show up," said a spokesperson. "We will give him the necessary treatment to get him ready. He is a quick healer, but the result of the scan will determine a lot. Hopefully it will show that it was just severe bruising."

If Henry is ruled out, Willie Faloon would likely slot into the No 7 jersey where Henry has been so impressive this season, but there was better news on back-row Pedrie Wannenburg and centre Paddy Wallace, who are both expected to be available. Scrum-half Paul Marshall continues to receive treatment for an elbow injury which ruled him out of last weekend's loss to Leinster.

Meanwhile, Ulster director of rugby David Humphreys, who led the province to their sole European title 13 years ago, believes the province are ready to move on from that 1999 triumph and says they are now a very difficult team to beat.

"Everyone involved with Ulster believes that it is time the constant references to 1999 are put to bed -- there is no-one left on the playing side so it is time to move on," said Humphreys. "Now the focus is on Edinburgh because any team that can beat Toulouse has to have put in a very good performance. Toulouse are consistently one of the very top teams in Europe and Edinburgh certainly found that performance.

"We have had a good couple of years, with our improvement being in the set-piece and breakdown areas, and if we can keep everyone fit then, just like Edinburgh, we are also a very hard side to beat. The breakdown almost determines the result of games so it requires strong refereeing and we are very comfortable that Romain Poite will be strong in that area."

Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley says it is entirely understandable that his team are regarded as underdogs after two heavy defeats by Ulster in the Pro12 League. "We can accept that because they have proved they deserve to be in that position going into the semi-final," said the ex-Connacht coach.

"Playing at home is another factor in their favour and we will have to deal with that on the day but we are used to going into matches as underdogs.

"The key strength for Edinburgh is that from one to 15 they can all play football and that has been the standout feature for us."

Irish Independent