Iain Henderson aiming for Ulster return

Ulster hope to be able to call on Ireland’s Iain Henderson for Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 date at Cardiff Blues, though the shoulder injured in the win over Australia is still to be fully assessed.

“Of our Irish contingent, Iain has been released to play, and he’s very eager to get more minutes under his belt, but we have to see how the injury is,” said Ulster’s assistant coach Allen Clarke yesterday.

“Rory Best won’t be involved, he’s had a lot of rugby in the autumn series, as has Paddy Jackson, and of course Jared Payne, Andrew Trimble, and Stuart Olding all picked up injuries in camp in any case. But Stuart McCloskey looks as if he’s ready to come back in at centre after his foot fracture, and prop Rodney Ah You too trained today and could be available for Cardiff,” added Clarke.

Ulster were clearly been frustrated by the late, late postponement of last Friday’s game in Belfast against Zebre, and training since has been intense and included a lot of contact, which he believes augurs well for the trip to Wales.

“Not playing on Friday was, to us, a negative, we were hoping to get a disappointing defeat in Edinburgh out of our system, and obviously we’re on a poor run in the PRO12 and the guys were really ready to perform. But we move on,” said the former international hooker.

Chris Henry’s return to the back row has been delayed for a week, but Clarke rates his return as hugely important. “Chris is raring to go in Wales, and we’ll have a close look at everyone over the next few days to come up with the team we think is the right one to get a result.”

  • Australia’s Dean Mumm has been cleared to face England at Twickenham on Saturday after avoiding a suspension for his dangerous tackle on Ireland’s Tadhg Furlong last weekend.

Former Exeter Chiefs lock Mumm was sin-binned in Australia’s 27-24 loss in Dublin at the weekend, for failing to bring Furlong safely to ground in a tackle.

Mumm avoided a red card at the Aviva Stadium with referee Jerome Garces explaining to both captains on the field the tackle was “not dynamic” and therefore did not warrant a sending off but instead a yellow card. World Rugby disciplinary bosses have backed up that decision, leaving Mumm free to face England.

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