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Best and Henderson can help next Ulster generation progress: Gibbes

 

By Jonathan Bradley

Ireland secured the future of two Ulster stars yesterday by locking up Rory Best and Iain Henderson with new contracts.

Best's extension takes him up to World Cup in 2019, where the skipper will hope to take Joe Schmidt's men to a first ever semi-final, while Henderson will be in Ulster and Ireland colours until at least the summer of 2021.

Head coach Jono Gibbes believes the duo are central to any attempt to restore the province's fortunes.

"They are quality people and they are locals as well, which is a great thing," said the departing former All Black.

"They are consistent performers. Their consistency and quality helps those guys who are up and coming to see what it looks like, what the very top of the game looks like, how meticulously their preparation is, it educates the next generation coming through."

Best, Henderson and fellow Grand Slam hero Jacob Stockdale have all been cleared to play in Ulster's crucial Guinness PRO14 game against Cardiff on Saturday (3.15pm), but only the latter pair seem set to feature.

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