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Ulster Rugby vs Northampton Saints team news: Iain Henderson returns as hosts make three changes for Champions Cup tie

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Iain Henderson is back for Ulster's home game against Northampton Saints. Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

Iain Henderson is back for Ulster's home game against Northampton Saints. Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

©INPHO/James Crombie

Iain Henderson is back for Ulster's home game against Northampton Saints. Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

Skipper Iain Henderson has recovered from a hamstring injury to lead Ulster against Northampton Saints tomorrow night at Kingspan Stadium.

The northern province come into the second Champions Cup clash of the season off the back of their impressive win over Clermont at the Stade Marcel-Michelin and victory back at home would represent a big step towards a return to the knock-out stages.

And the return of their talismanic captain for what will be just a second Ulster appearance of the season provides a considerable boost ahead of the key clash.

The 29-year-old, who recovered from summer hand surgery just in time for Ireland’s Autumn Internationals, strained a hamstring during the warm-up for the win over Argentina but ultimately missed only three games for his province.

Coming straight back into the second-row, he’ll partner Alan O’Connor in the engine room with a further two locks held in reserve.

Kieran Treadwell and Sam Carter are both on the bench in what will again be a 6:2 split.

Marty Moore is also back after missing out against Clermont following injury against Ospreys with the former Leinster and Wasps man restored to the number three jersey.

Tom O’Toole drops to the bench, joining last week’s replacements John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Greg Jones, Nathan Doak and Stewart Moore.

The last of Dan McFarland’s three changes comes in the form of Craig Gilroy, who takes the place of Robert Baloucoune.

Balacoune was injured against Clermont with the Irish winger shipping a shoulder injury in the first half that saw centre Stewart Moore forced into a lengthy stint out wide.

Northampton Saints have themselves made six changes to the side beaten by Racing 92 at Franklin’s Gardens last weekend.

Out-half Dan Biggar is absent with the hip injury that saw him hobble out of that loss to the French heavyweights though the return to action of his fellow British and Irish Lions tourist Courtney Lawes is a significant addition to their pack.

Joining a back-row that also contains skipper Lewis Ludlam and the 50-times capped Tom Wood, the loose forward unit is a clear area of strength for the visitors.

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Samoan Ahsee Tuala will make his first Saints start at full-back while there is a place on the bench for former Methodist College pupil Conor Carey.

The tight-head prop, who joined Northampton this season after previous spells with Worcester Warriors and Connacht, retains the number 18 jersey he wore in his first Saints European outing last weekend.


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