Ireland star to miss highly-anticipated series against the Springboks

Jared Wright
Ireland's Iain Henderson (centre) and team-mates appear dejected after a late defeat to England following the Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium, London.

Ireland's Iain Henderson (centre) and team-mates appear dejected after a late defeat to England following the Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium, London.

Ireland lock Iain Henderson will miss the two-Test series against the Springboks in South Africa this July through injury, Ulster Rugby have confirmed.

The experienced second rower has undergone surgery on his toe and is set to be sidelined for around three months.

A blow for Andy Farrell

The Ulster captain has played 81 Test matches for Ireland, including two appearances from the bench as Andy Farrell’s charges defended their Six Nations title earlier this year.

“Iain Henderson will miss our summer tour to South Africa after undergoing toe surgery – wishing you a speedy recovery, Hendy,” a post on the Irish Rugby Football Union’s social media account read.

The Springboks host Ireland in back-to-back Test matches on on July 6 in Pretoria and July 13 in Durban.

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Henderson’s injury means that he will also miss the remainder of his province’s United Rugby Championship campaign.

Tadhg Beirne, Joe McCarthy and James Ryan are set to be involved in Farrell’s squad for the tour to South Africa, while Henderson’s void could be filled by Tom Ahern or even Ryan Baird – who has been turning out at flank for Leinster and Ireland.

His injury also opens up an opportunity for clubmates Cormac Izuchukw and Kieran Treadwell.

It’s another setback for Ulster, with centre James Hume also having surgery on a knee injury and entering a period of rehab for the coming months.

Ahead of their clash with Leinster, they are also without Luke Marshall (concussion) and Rob Baloucoune (hamstring), who join Marty Moore, Jake Flannery, Ben Moxham and Callum Reid on the injury list.

This after Steven Kitshoff’s injury brought his time with Ulster to a premature end.

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Richie Murphy signs on for more

Earlier this week, Ulster also announced that Richie Murphy has signed a two-year contract to remain in charge of the Senior Men’s team.

Murphy was appointed interim head coach following the departure of former head coach Dan McFarland.

“I’m looking forward to continuing with Ulster after a very enjoyable start to my time with the club. I would like to thank all of the support staff, especially Bryn Cunningham, for helping me settle in,” Murphy said.

“Bryn has been a big part of this process, and I would like to thank him for all his efforts in getting us to this point. It’s no secret that I was keen to stay on in the role of Head Coach with the province, as I can see what is building here at Ulster and how I can contribute to growing that in the coming years.

“We have a very talented group at Ulster and, together with a loyal and dedicated supporter base, I’m relishing the opportunity to see what we can all achieve together.”

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