European Champions Cup: Iain Henderson to make Ulster return for Saracens clash
Iain Henderson has returned from injury and will make his 50th Ulster appearance in Friday night's sold-out Champions Cup clash against Saracens at Kingspan Stadium (kick off 7.45pm).
The powerful forward has been out of action since picking up a hand injury in Ireland's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Argentina, but he has recovered in time for the start of Ulster's European campaign.
Rory Best will captain the side and is joined in the front row by Callum Black and Wiehahn Herbst. Dan Tuohy and Franco van der Merwe continue in the second row, while Chris Henry and Nick Williams will make up the back row alongside blindside flanker Henderson.
Halfbacks Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson will start together for the first time this season, with Stuart McCloskey and Darren Cave lining out in midfield. The experienced trio of Andrew Trimble, Craig Gilroy and Louis Ludik are named in the back three.
Rob Herring, Kyle McCall and Ricky Lutton will provide front row cover, with the experienced Robbie Diack and Roger Wilson included as the other forwards on the bench. The backline reinforcements come in the form of Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys and Peter Nelson.
Saracens have won five of their six European Cup matches against Ulster, including each of their last three fixtures. The current English champions registered a 32-7 win over Toulouse in Round 1.
The match will be broadcast live on BT Sport.
(15-9): Louis Ludik, Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; (1-8): Callum Black, Rory Best (captain), Wiehahn Herbst, Dan Tuohy, Franco van der Merwe, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Nick Williams;
Replacements: (16-23): Kyle McCall, Rob Herring, Ricky Lutton, Robbie Diack, Roger Wilson, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys, Peter Nelson.
Belfast Telegraph Digital