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Glasgow Warriors v Ulster: Less Kiss calls on his charges to hit the play-off target

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 25/03/2016

Surging back: Iain Henderson returns to the Ulster team for the
first time in four months after overcoming a hamstring injury
Surging back: Iain Henderson returns to the Ulster team for the first time in four months after overcoming a hamstring injury

As he welcomes Iain Henderson back into his starting side for tonight's trip to Glasgow (7.35pm kick-off), Les Kiss has called on his squad to deliver a play-off spot over the season's final weeks.

Ulster currently sit in the fourth and final place but are embroiled in a seven-team battle to play knock-out rugby in May and, starting this evening, any slip-up could prove hugely detrimental to their cause.

"We as a group believe we can be at the business end of the season," said Kiss. "The motivation is already there. They want to make sure they really do themselves justice.

"Everyone has to put their hand up and deliver."

Last season's champions have won four in a row since being beaten by Ulster last month and are boosted by the return of a host of Scottish stars from Six Nations duty.

Kiss is expecting quite the challenge against Gregor Townsend's men.

"If you watch the way they approached their game against Leinster last weekend, they were very good at the breakdown - although not always legal," he said.

"They have a very good offloading game. They're not afraid of backing themselves, particularly on their home turf.

"I'd expect they'll try and challenge us with their width, as well as their offloading game.

"It's their home turf. Every team finds a bit of solace in their home turf.

"Especially for them, they had a couple of games they couldn't play there, the pitch isn't in great nick.

"That maybe has an influence, but they're used to it, so that's a challenge for us too, that we go over there with the right mindset to deal with that."

With Henderson returning for the first time in almost four months after a serious hamstring injury, he is joined in the back-row by Chris Henry and Nick Williams.

Up front, with Rory Best still absent, Rob Herring starts at hooker and captains the side, with Callum Black and Ricky Lutton the starting props.

In the engine room, Alan O'Connor is fit again to join Franco van der Merwe as a starting lock. John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Andy Warwick, Robbie Diack and Sean Reidy are the forwards on the bench.

Behind the pack, Paddy Jackson starts at out-half and wins his 100th cap at the age of only 24.

He is partnered at half-back by Ruan Pienaar with Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall reuniting in the midfield.

With Jacob Stockdale given a break after featuring for the Irish under-20s over the last two weeks, Rory Scholes joins Craig Gilroy on the wing while Stuart Olding is back in the 15 jersey.

Backline replacements are provided by Paul Marshall, Sam Windsor and Darren Cave.

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