Henderson to captain Ulster versus Wasps

Iain Henderson will captain Ulster for the first time on Friday night as Ulster opens its Champions Cup campaign against Wasps at Kingspan Stadium (7.45pm).

A limited number of tckets for Friday’s game are available via ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.

Henderson, with 77 Ulster caps to his name, will lead a starting XV that features 12 internationals.

Director of Rugby Les Kiss has made three personnel changes, while the one positional switch will see Henderson move from blindside flanker to second row.

Two of the new faces are among the loose forwards as Robbie Diack and Sean Reidy are introduced alongside Jean Deysel, who will make his Champions Cup bow for Ulster.

John Cooney and Christian Lealiifano will also make their European debuts for the Province.

Kieran Treadwell will partner Henderson in the engine room, while the front row of Kyle McCall, Rob Herring and Wiehahn Herbst is unchanged from last week’s 16-8 win versus Connacht.

The one backline change sees Louis Ludik (right wing) earn selection in the back three along with Charles Piutau and Jacob Stockdale, who will be aiming to build on his strike rate of four tries in four games this season.

Cooney, a Heineken Cup winner with Leinster in 2012 with, is paired with Lealiifano at half-back for the sixth time, while Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall will combine in midfield once again.

John Andrew, Rodney Ah You, Paul Marshall and Pete Nelson again provide cover from the replacements bench, with Callum Black, Matty Rea, Clive Ross and Tommy Bowe also named in the match day 23.

Ulster Rugby team to play Wasps, European Rugby Champions Cup (Friday 13th October, Kingspan Stadium, 7.45pm):
(1-8): K McCall, R Herring, W Herbst, K Treadwell, I Henderson (captain), R Diack, S Reidy, J Deysel;
(9-15): J Cooney, C Lealiifano, J Stockdale, S McCloskey, L Marshall, L Ludik, C Piutau;
Replacements (16-23): J Andrew, C Black, R Ah You, M Rea, C Ross, P Marshall, P Nelson, T Bowe.

Injury List:
Rory Best (hamstring), Marcell Coetzee (knee), Craig Gilroy (back), Chris Henry (larynx), Rob Lyttle (shoulder), Al O’Connor (concussion), Jared Payne (headaches), Dave Shanahan (hamstring), Nick Timoney (ankle), Schalk van der Merwe (shoulder)

PROCESSING