Monday 14 October 2019

Ulster hopeful Iain Henderson will be fit for European showdown with Leinster

Iain Henderson. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Iain Henderson. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Adam McKendry

Ulster are hopeful that second row Iain Henderson will be fit to take on Leinster in their Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday March 30.

The 27-year-old sustained a knee injury in Ireland's win over France a couple of weeks ago and missed Saturday's 25-7 defeat to Wales in the final game of the Six Nations.

However, Ulster are confident that the British and Irish Lions lock will be back in time to play in Ulster's first European knockout game since 2014 when they travel to Dublin next weekend.

However, there was less positive news for the duo of Craig Gilroy and Will Addison, who are both set to miss the game through their respective injuries.

Gilroy (back) has been a long-term absentee, while Addison withdrew from the Ireland squad last month after picking up an injury in training, with both players 'week-to-week' and unlikely to feature at the Aviva.

This weekend, Ulster return to Guinness PRO14 action and take on the Southern Kings at Kingspan Stadium (Saturday, 7.35pm) with the boost that flanker Marcell Coetzee is available again.

The Springbok missed the last block of games against the Ospreys, Zebre and Dragons, but is set to make his return at just the right time to take on the Kings a week before Leinster.

Centre Luke Marshall had hoped to make his long-term return from injury as well, however he is still considered a couple of weeks away, while David Busby is also on that timescale.

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Ulster are also likely to have those players from the Ireland squad who didn't feature against Wales available - with John Cooney, Jordi Murphy and Rob Herring all in line for selection.

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