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Ireland trio provide timely injury boost for Ulster head of Champions Cup

By Josh Raisey
Ulster captain Iain Henderson before the United Rugby Championship match between Ulster and Emirates Lions at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster will be boosted by the return of three Ireland internationals this week as they prepare to get their Investec Champions Cup campaign underway, with captain Iain Henderson, Rob Herring and Michael Lowry becoming available after missing Saturday’s loss to Edinburgh in the United Rugby Championship.

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The trio have returned to training this week alongside Jake Flannery, and will be monitored as the week progresses to see whether they can play at the weekend, according to Ulster’s recent injury update.

Meanwhile, Ben Moxham and Will Addison are out after the former picked up a knee injury and the latter suffered a concussion against the Scottish outfit.

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Lions ahead coach Ivan van Rooyen on rotating his squad for the opening rounds of Challenge Cup

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Lions ahead coach Ivan van Rooyen on rotating his squad for the opening rounds of Challenge Cup

The return of some of his internationals will be a welcome relief to head coach Dan McFarland ahead of a tough opening two rounds of the Champions Cup. Ulster take on Bath on Saturday at the Rec, who are currently level on points with Sale Sharks at the top of the Gallagher Premiership table, before hosting Racing 92 the week after, who sit at the top of the Top 14 ladder.

After a strong start to the season, Ulster have now lost two on the bounce, to Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors, and McFarland will want to arrest that slump this weekend.

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Red and White Dynamight 4 hours ago
Duhan van der Merwe hat-trick sinks sloppy England to win Calcutta Cup

Up the Jocks ! a great team effort and 4 victories v on the bounce v their greatest rivals for those north of Hadrians. But, of course, before the celebrations survive the first pint of McEwans, it seems for some this Calcutta Cup match was merely 1 man v 15. What exactly is it about Sth Africans that make them such insufferable bores ? you rarely see Kiwis claiming Ireland victories (incl 3 x NZers) or Aussies for that matter (X1). You never see Samoans claiming France/England victories (Tuilagis). Or Fijians claim All Black victories. Scotland have had some great Kiwi-born players (S.Lineen/B.Laney/J.Leslie) - no surprise given their heritage - but they supported them as their ‘2nd team’. If anything they applaud their countrymen for taking opportunities and bettering themselves as professionals and, hopefully, competing on the World stage too. It takes some stratospheric level of stupid to ignore the opaque boundaries and qualifications that now allow Japan to be competitive, Portugal to win a RWC game, Argentinians to play for Italy, New Zealanders to dominate Tongan and Samoan teams - and not celebrate that World Rugby is more competitive and better for it. Everywhere on social media, even when the post has zero to do with Sth Africans (schoolboy rugby being the most obvious barrel-scraping eg - these are KIDS), they pile in and try to claim the “we are better/stronger/faster” with such voluminous levels of obnoxious bile, that it poisons the mere celebration of the sport itself. These are not ‘rugby fans’ that can marvel at the Game they Play in Heaven, but rather some misplaced insecure-fuelled poison that they need to extract from deep inside their psyche. Its hard to understand the exact reason for the massive chip on their shoulders and their desperation for the victimhood/noone-loves-us-we-dont-care, but it seems accelerated with their LOTTO Cup 1-pt wins, like gasoline on the fire. Obsessed with ‘cheating’ refs and ‘cheating’ opposition (Rassies video bloopers during Lions tour; McCaw’s whole career) and celebrating their own thuggery (#JUSTICE4 the dirtiest player in pro-rugby history), when luck suddenly goes their way (1995 Final vs an acutely comprimised ABs; Kilosi<->Cane cards in 2023 Final) or their players escape adequate penalty (Etzebeth 1-handed non-intercepts; Kolbe illegal chargedown; Etzebeth cynically retreating in the AB backline) so obviously that its clearly been coached, then suddenly its AOK as long its SA that benefit directly from it. The schizophrenic nature of Sth Africans presents them as good company in person - and lets face it, theyre EVERYWHERE now and cant get out of their own country fast enough - but as anonymous keyboard ninjas their true nature shines out as one beset with a dark undercurrent of toxic self-absorption. It appears that the bravado appears only under the protection of anonymity, a cowardice of insufferable reverse-flagellation to make themselves feel proud when the mirror stares back at them. Give yourselves a long slow clap. Well done to the entire Scotland team including all those born south of Hadrians Wall. Playing a fantastic fast pace of fluid ball-in-hands rugby that seems almost foreign to other teams. Och aye the noo.

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