Iain Henderson poised for Ireland debut against South Africa

CHANCE: Iain Henderson
CHANCE: Iain Henderson

ULSTER are set to hail another new internationally capped player if Iain Henderson comes off the bench for Ireland on Saturday evening against South Africa at the Aviva Stadium.

The 20-year-old backrow rookie has already filled the void left by the injured Stephen Ferris in the Ulster side in recent weeks and now he is set to get an opportunity in the senior green shirt.

Henderson, who has six Ulster caps, impressed during the Junior World Cup in South Africa during the summer and his sudden climb in status is not simply to do with the injuries ravaging the national squad.

He is an abrasive backrow player, with good ball carrying skills and he offers additional options at the lineout. His physicality in the loose has also been a strong part of his game and this opportunity is well merited.

Henderson was one of three uncapped forwards, with David Kilcoyne and Michael Bent also included on the bench.

Bent is named ahead of Ulster prop, Tom Court, which is a huge gamble by Declan Kidney, given the former has only arrived in Ireland recently having played in New Zealand.

Court’s disappointment will he shared by lock, Dan Tuohy, who was also overlooked.

While it was a huge boost for Henderson to be named on the bench, for fellow Ulster backrow, Chris Henry, there were big smiles after he was handed the starting openside shirt on the backrow.

Henry was involved in the summer tour to New Zealand and capped twice and his selection to start against the Springboks was expected given his performances in the Ulster shirt this season to date, captaining the side on two occasions.

Tommy Bowe - who will make his 50th appearance in the green jersey - and Andrew Trimble were also named in the starting lineup, selected on both wings.

Bowe had been tipped as the fullback choice previously, but Kidney has taken a big call in putting Munster winger, Simon Zebo in the No 15 shirt for his first Irish start since being capped during the New Zealand tour.