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Iain Henderson replaces Best as Ulster Captain

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

11:40 25 Jul 2019

Ulster Rugby has confirmed today that Iain Henderson has been appointed as Club Captain for the upcoming season.

The 27-year-old, who is currently in Ireland’s training squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup, has represented Ulster on 105 occasions.

Henderson made his way up through the academy ranks at Ulster before making his senior provincial debut with his home province in April 2012, against Connacht.

Henderson has since become a key figure for Ulster and Ireland, winning 44 international caps. He played in four of Ireland’s games during the 6 Nations Grand Slam success of 2018, while he also featured in 2014 and 2015 Championship wins.

He was called up to the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in 2017.

He replaces Rory Best who retired earlier this year after 15 years of service with the side and said on the appointment today;

“I’m incredibly proud and excited to be Club Captain. I had a good chat with Dan (McFarland) and I think we’re closely aligned in terms of how we see Ulster moving forward.

“I’ve got massive boots to fill with Rory (Best) outgoing, but it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to.

“When I’ve captained Ulster on previous occasions, it’s been made a lot easier because of the presence of a number of great leaders around me. It really helps when you’ve got people like Al (O’Connor), Rob (Herring) and Marcell (Coetzee) behind you, who understand what you’re doing and provide unbelievable support.

“Our squad has a very low age profile and one of the most exciting things for me is seeing the hunger within the group and the players’ desire to improve. We also have the likes of Jack (McGrath), Sam (Carter) and Matt (Faddes) coming in, who will add significant additional experience, so I think we’ve got a lot to be excited about going into the new season.”

Commenting on his decision, Ulster Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said;

“Iain has a deep love for his Province. He understands exactly what it means to wear the Ulster jersey and this rubs off on those around him.

“As a leader, he has demonstrated his ability to command respect through his professionalism and talismanic play.

“Asking Iain to be captain was not a difficult decision and because he is surrounded by a squad of good men, I know that he will flourish.”

Ulster's first Pro14 fixture of the upcoming season is at home against the Ospreys on September 27.

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