Ulster Rugby have today confirmed that Iain Henderson will take over as club captain for the 2019/2020 season following the retirement of Rory Best.
The 27-year-old has previously captained the northern province on numerous occasions and brings a wealth of experience to the role having made 105 appearances for Ulster as well as having represented both Ireland and the British and Irish Lions.
Henderson is currently in training camp with the Irish squad ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. The versatile lock has won 44 caps for his country and played in four out of the five tests as Ireland secured the Grand Slam title in 2018.
Following the announcement, Henderson released a statement via Ulster Rugby where he outlined his pride at being asked to undertake the role.
“I’m incredibly proud and excited to be appointed as 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.”
Ulster head coach, Dan McFarland, commented on the decision:
“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.”