Jump to main content



Henderson To Miss Rest Of Ulster’s Season And Ireland’s Summer Tour

Henderson To Miss Rest Of Ulster’s Season And Ireland’s Summer Tour

Iain Henderson, pictured in Rugby World Cup action earlier this season, will miss Ireland's upcoming tour to South Africa ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Ulster captain Iain Henderson will miss the rest of their BKT United Rugby Championship campaign, and has been ruled out of Ireland’s summer tour to South Africa, following surgery on an injured toe.

Henderson came out of Ulster’s short stint in the EPCR Challenge Cup last month with the injury. An update today from the province’s medical performance team confirmed that his season has come to a premature end.

He underwent toe surgery on Monday and is ‘now expected to be sidelined for approximately three months’, accoring to the statement. That rules him out of the URC title run-in, and Ireland’s two clashes with South Africa in July.

The 32-year-old second row came off the bench on the hour mark during the Rugby World Cup pool win over the Springboks. He started the subsequent games against Scotland and New Zealand, scoring his sixth international try in the process.

He made two appearances as a replacement during the recent Guinness Men’s Six Nations Championship, at the end of which he received his fifth winner’s medal since 2014.

Meanwhile, ahead of Ulster’s eagerly-awaited interprovincial derby against Leinster on Saturday night, Richie Murphy’s men have suffered another significant setback with the news that Ireland-capped centre James Hume (knee) also underwent surgery yesterday.

Hume will ‘enter a period of rehab of the coming months’, while Luke Marshall (concussion) and Robert Baloucoune (hamstring) suffered recent injuries in training and are unavailable for selection this week.

The availability of forwards Tom O’Toole and Sean Reffell will be assessed through the week, as the Ulstermen, who currently sit sixth in the URC table, gear up for their final home game of the regular season.

Murphy, whose two-year contract as Ulster head coach was confirmed yesterday, commented: “Playing Leinster is always difficult no matter when you play them, but I’ve been in the Leinster camp coming up to Ulster a number of times – they don’t find it an easy place to come either.

“If the crowd can be as good as they’ve been in the first few games then I think they’ll have a big part to play. Us, as Ulster, we need to turn up from minute one and put them under pressure.

“They’ve got class players no matter who turns up, so it’ll be a big test coming up that will test certain elements of our game we’re not happy with at the moment. Behind closed doors we’re working hard to fix that.

“We’re at home, we’re in Belfast, we’re playing against a team that are extremely good but aren’t going to pick their full team and have their eye on something else (next week’s Champions Cup final).”