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Cardiff Blues v Ulster: Welcome for returning stars in bid to get back on track

By Jonathan Bradley

Director of Rugby Les Kiss has been handed a boost with the return of six senior figures for today's trip to Ulster's "bogey side" Cardiff (5.15pm kick-off). Chris Henry was set for his first appearance of the campaign last week before the game with Zebre was postponed and will be in the seven jersey this evening while Stuart McCloskey is back in the centre after missing more than two months with a broken foot.

Iain Henderson is in at blindside after featuring twice for Ireland during the Guinness Series, with Darren Cave, Rodney Ah You and Louis Ludik all to make their own comebacks from the bench.

"It's massive for us really," said Kiss of the injection of experience brought by his returning stars.

"Stu has probably missed half the year. He's been gunning for this game, last week he wasn't quite right but he's on song now.

"We're looking forward to the type of momentum he can provide.

"We know what Chris Henry can do too from a leadership perspective and the relief that he can bring to Sean Reidy and company at the breakdown.

"Rodney is back on the bench after his knee injury which came just when he was building up a head of steam.

"He's got a chance off the bench and Wiehahn (Herbst) is back now too so it'll be good to see how they work in tandem.

"It's good to have Luke Marshall and Craig Gilroy back from international duty too.

"Lukey has had a bit of a flu this week but we've got Darren Cave and Louis Ludik who have both come onto the bench so we're well covered there."

Having lost three league games in succession, and not played in four weeks thanks to internationals and the postponement, Kiss is under no illusions as to the challenge ahead.

"We need to be really switched on for the whole game," he warned.

"They're a tough team. People call them our bogey side but it's one of the toughest tests we will have this year.

"We'll need to be very much on our game. We haven't played in a month but we're going to have to tough through that period when it's hard on the lungs and just do what we have to."

Ulster are without Rory Best and Paddy Jackson thanks to IRFU player management while Jared Payne, Andrew Trimble, and Stuart Olding are injured.

Dan Tuohy is not in the panel as he edges ever closer to the exit door.

Roger Wilson is still struggling with injury while summer signing Marcell Coetzee remains in the treatment room and awaiting his debut for the province thanks to the knee problem picked up for the Sharks in April.

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