Henderson gets the okay for big Euro showdown
Ulster breathed a huge sigh of relief after learning that the injury to Iain Henderson is nothing like as serious as at first feared.
Less than 24 hours after coach Mark Anscombe admitted his concern that the 6ft 6in lock/back row forward could be out for the rest of the season, tests on the player's left foot ligament injury confirmed a sprain rather than a tear.
That means Henderson – who already has five Ireland caps despite having just turned 21 last month – should be available for Ulster's Heineken Cup quarter-final with Saracens at Twickenham on April 6.
An Ulster Rugby statement, issued on Wednesday night, read: "Following a scan in Dublin on Sunday, he underwent an x-ray in Belfast yesterday. There it was confirmed that he has suffered soft-tissue damage."
Currently the ligament is inflamed, hence Henderson's discomfort. But that can be treated and with nothing more serious than soft tissue damage, Ulster anticipate a full recovery ahead of that crucial European clash, now little over two weeks away.
He may even get some game time against Leinster at the RDS on Easter Saturday evening.
"Finally some good news on the injury front," a Ravenhill insider said. "It's a lot better than we'd thought."
Meanwhile, only four Ulster boys have made the 26-strong Ireland Schools' squad for the FIRA/AER Under-18 European Championship.
The team, sponsored by PwC, will compete in Grenoble, France from tomorrow, when they face Georgia (7pm), until Saturday week and having been European champions in 2011, the Irish will be expected to make an impact.
The 2011 side which beat England in the final included Ulster's Stuart Olding and Connacht's Robbie Henshaw, both now making the grade as professionals.
Three of Ulster's representatives are Methody forwards who featured in Monday's Danske Schools' Cup final victory over RBAI – tight-head Michael Lagan, lock Alex Thompson and No 8 James Gallagher. The fourth is Campbell College's Jack Owens.