Rugby Union

Henderson returns as Ulster names side to play Emirates Lions

Iain Henderson returns to the side after representing Ireland at the Rugby World Cup
Liam Grimley

BKT United Rugby Championship

Ulster v Lions (Friday, 7.35pm, live on BBC Two, TG4 & Viaplay Online)


DAN McFarland has named Iain Henderson in his starting XV to face United Rugby Championship rivals Emirates Lions at Kingspan Stadium on Friday night.

The Ulstermen will hope to continue their unbeaten home record this season against the South African side.

Club captain Henderson is the most noticeable change on the teamsheet as he comes back for his first game since representing Ireland at the Rugby World Cup in France.

Joining him in the second row, Alan O’Connor, returns to the side after last featuring against Connacht in round three.



In a new-look front row, Andrew Warwick, starts at loosehead prop, where he is joined by Ulster's record appearance-holding hooker, Rob Herring, and last week’s debutant, Ulster Rugby Academy prop, Scott Wilson, who starts at tighthead after impressing against Munster.

In the back row, flanker Dave Ewers, starts on the blindside, where he is joined by openside flanker, Reuben Crothers, whose debut against Connacht ended prematurely after an early injury.

David McCann retains his place in the back row at eight, after another player-of-the-match performance against Munster last week.

In the half-back partnership, scrum-half Nathan Doak is joined by Jake Flannery at 10, with both hoping to carry on the fine form they have shown in the early stages of the season.


Stuart McCloskey returned to the Ulster fold against Munster last week after the Rugby World Cup, during which he welcomed his son Kasper. Photo: Ireland Rugby/Instagram


Ireland international, Stuart McCloskey, retains his place at inside centre after making his first appearance of the season against Munster, and is partnered by James Hume, who is back after a combative performance against Connacht.

Jacob Stockdale will hope to continue his hot-scoring streak, as he hopes to add to the four tries he has made in three starts this season on the left wing, taking over from the injured Ethan McIlroy, who suffered a concussion and facial fracture last time out against Munster.

Rob Baloucoune starts on the right wing, with the versatile back, Stewart Moore, getting the nod at full-back to complete the backfield.

On the bench, Dan McFarland can welcome back tighthead prop, Marty Moore, who has been out since January. There is also a new face on the bench, as Academy back-rower, Lorcan McLoughlin, hopes to make his debut for Ulster from the bench.

John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Harry Sheridan, John Cooney, Billy Burns and Mike Lowry complete the replacements.



Rugby Union