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Friday 9 December 2016

Henderson back to make Kingspan a fortress again

Iain Henderson
Iain Henderson

Ireland's Iain Henderson will return to inject confidence into Ulster for what is certain to be a bruising battle at The Kingspan Stadium this evening.

The back five forward will be deployed at blindside where his ruck-wrecking aggression and freakish ball carry will be pivotal to their go-forward.

There is a nice balance to the back row where groundhog Chris Henry and the fading Nick Williams will have their work cut out for them.

When it comes to the giants of the game few can rival the Vunipola brothers, Billy and Mako. Ulster will have to keep them under wraps and put a stop to the momentum which blew Toulouse away 32-7 at The Allianz Arena in round one.

The Northern Province has lost five of their last six European encounters with the English Premiership club. Director of Rugby Les Kiss will have to marshall his men into one hell of an effective unit to turn that tide against former Ulster coach Mark McCall.

Munster were able to destabilise and defeat Sarries in Limerick last season. They did it by going to the sky and applying relentless pressure at the breakdown.

Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson are well-equipped to kick Ulster into position. From there, they will have to take most of their chances.

Ulster: L Ludik; A Trimble, D Cave, S McCloskey, C Gilroy; P Jackson, R Pienaar; C Black, R Best (capt), W Herbst, D Tuohy, F Van Der Merwe, I Henderson, C Henry, N Williams.

Saracens: A Goode; C Ashton, D Taylor, B Barritt (capt), C Wyles; O Farrell, R Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, S Brits, P du Plessis, G Kruis, M Itoje, M Rhodes, J Burger, B Vunipola.

Verdict: Saracens.

Ulster v Saracens, Kingspan Stadium (KO 7.45, BT Sport)

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