Ireland and Ulster have received a big boost with the news that Iain Henderson has returned from injury.
In January, Henderson suffered a finger injury which was unrelated to a previous thumb injury he picked up before Christmas.
It was expected that the 26-year-old would be out of action for the majority of the Six Nations, potentially making a return in time for the final round where Ireland travel to Cardiff to face Wales.
However, Henderson’s recovery has been quicker than expected and he has been named to start in Dan McFarland’s Ulster team who travel to the Ospreys on Friday night in the Guinness PRO14.
His return will provide a big boost for the northern province as they are currently battling it out for a playoff spot in a congested Conference B.
His return will also come as a boost to Joe Schmidt who has seen his second-row ranks depleted in recents weeks with Devin Toner ruled out of the remainder of the Six Nations.
Ulster’s team to face the Ospreys is below:
Ulster: P Nelson; A Kernohan, D Cave, S McCloskey, L Ludik; M Lowry, J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore, A O’Connor (captain), I Henderson, C Ross, J Murphy, N Timoney;
Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, T O’Toole, K Treadwell, S Reidy, D Shanahan, J Hume, R Lyttle.