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Henry Ready To ‘Ramp Things Up’ Against Leinster

Henry Ready To ‘Ramp Things Up’ Against Leinster

Last week, Rory Best was asked about Chris Henry’s health in a question and answer session. With deadpan delivery and perfect comic timing, the Ulster captain simply said: It’s great that he has got over his cholesterol problem.” The room erupted in laughter.

It is okay to joke because Chris Henry is fully fit and back playing for Ulster. Following successful surgery to repair a wall in his heart and after months of hard work in the gym, he is available and raring to go for Ulster’s GUINNESS PRO12 run-in.

It is good news for Ulster because as Rory Best also said recently, “Chris is worth his weight in gold.” For Henry himself, there is relief to be back but also determination to push himself and the side toward a play-off place.

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“Ulster have an unbelievable chance of doing something special this year. It takes players to step up and I just need to get back to the level of performance that I know I can bring. I need to get back to the way I was playing before the incident happened,” he explained.

“I have had ups and obviously some downs this season but for me to be back and to get 30 minutes (against Cardiff Blues), then 80 minutes (against Connacht) is a good start. I was happy enough with what I did but now it’s time to ramp things up.”

With players like Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip and Jordi Murphy coming to town this Friday night, there is little option but to increase the intensity. Henry is relishing another showdown with many of his Ireland team-mates but one in particular.

“No matter what side they bring they are full of internationals. Hopefully Sean O’Brien is starting at 7 and hopefully I am starting at 7 for Ulster. Every time we play against each other it is a confrontational match.

“We are different types of player, but hopefully I can bring my style of game and as a team we can stop him getting go-forward ball and stop him bulldozing his way along the pitch as we know he can.”

Leinster’s PRO12 form has not been as strong as it usually is, but Henry has learned that you never write off the Blues who have either been runners-up or champions in the last five years of the league.

The Ulster and Ireland flanker added: “I suppose for Leinster it’s a new situation. They are not used to being in fifth place, they are normally top of the league and leading the charge.

“It’s new for us and we have a great chance to put a team like them away. However, the performance they put in last weekend (against Toulon) shows they are a fantastic side. They are full of competitors and they will keep fighting.

“We know that they have had a short run-in (to this Friday’s game). They haven’t had as much time as us to prepare. I feel that we have prepared really well and we are very focused. In big games like this in the past we have given away silly penalties or we haven’t been up to scratch in certain elements of the game.

“On Friday night we just need to take care of our own business. There’s a great chance for us – we are all extremely driven and now its about getting stuck in and being on the right side of the result.”