Iain Henderson will make his third start of the season on Friday. ©INPHO/Billy Stickland
Heineken Cup

Team News: Wannenberg returns to Ulster to face old teammates and young gun Henderson

The South African Number 8 will have a challenging night against the flanker, Henry and Ferris.

OCTOBER HAS NOT proved too objectionable for Ulster flanker Iain Henderson so far.

The 20-year-old, who only signed a contract extension until 2015 yesterday, will make his Heineken Cup bow against Castres at Ravenhill on Friday.

He takes the place of the injured, and in-form, Nick Williams in the Ulster back row and will line up against a face familiar to fans of the northern side.

South African Pedrie Wannenberg will start for the French side at Number 8. Wannenberg performed with distinction for Ulster last season and featured in the province’s Heineken Cup Final loss to Leinster.

Williams has failed to recover from a rib injury picked up in the 25-0 win over Connacht last Friday so Henderson will make his third start of the season.

Henderson’s inclusion at blindside flanker will mean Stephen Ferris switches to the back of the scrum. The rest of the team is unchanged from Friday’s clinical victory over Connacht.

Springbok on the bench

The only change on the replacements bench will see Ruan Pienaar, who returned from Rugby Championship duty with South Africa earlier in the week, named in place of Michael Heaney.

After missing most of last season with an Achilles tendon injury, fullback Jared Payne will also make his European bow.

Looking ahead to the game, Henderson said: “I can’t wait. I’ve been watching games at Ravenhill since I was a kid and I’m really looking forward to pulling on the white jersey and experiencing the atmosphere as a player.” He added:

My first aim for the season was to be involved in a few PRO12 games but with the few injuries that we have in the back row, I’ve been given an opportunity and I have to try and grab it with both hands.

“Castres are a very physical team but they also throw the ball wide and have an expansive kicking game. That should make for a tough, but entertaining game. We’ll have to work really hard to nullify their threats.”

Castres currently occupy sixth position in the Top 14 having beaten Clermont Auvergne at the weekend, and with Ulster undefeated in the RaboDirect PRO12, it promises to be a tantalising clash.

Ulsrer Rugby confirmed to today that only 500 tickets remain for the Friday evening clash in Belfast. It has adsvised that the best option for booking tickets is online at

Ulster: J Payne; T Bowe, D Cave, P Wallace, A Trimble; P Jackson, P Marshall; T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (c), D Tuohy, I Henderson, C Henry, S Ferris. Replacements: R Herring, C Black, A Macklin, L Stevenson, M McComish, R Pienaar, L Marshall, C Gilroy.
Castres: R Teulet; M Garvey, S Bai, D Kirkpatrick, M Andreu; P Bernard, T Lecrampe; Y Forestier, M Bonello, M Coetzee; M Rolland (c), R Capo Ortega; P Faasalele, Y Caballero, P Wannenberg.Replacements: M Rallier, G Marmoiton, H Lazar, J Tekori, A Claassen, R Kockott, P Bonnefond, T Sanchou.

The match takes place from 8:00pm at Ravenhill on Friday and is live on Sky Sports.

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