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United Rugby Championship: Vermeulen to captain Ulster towards Zebre with Henderson poised to return

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Vermeulen
Vermeulen, a World Cup winner with South Africa, captains Ulster for the first time
Venue: Kingspan Stadium, Belfast Date: Friday, 25 November Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two Northern Ireland and BBC iPlayer

Duane Vermeulen will captain Ulster for the first time while Iain Henderson is poised to make his first appearance of the season in Friday’s United Rugby Championship game with Zebre.

World Cup-winning Springbok Vermeulen is named at eight with Ireland lock Henderson named in the replacements.

Henderson, the province’s captain, has not played since June because of knee and hand injuries.

Ulster return to URC action following a break for the autumn internationals.

Henderson is joined on the bench by scrum-half Michael McDonald, who could make his debut for the province after joining in the summer.

Fit-again wing Jacob Stockdale returns to club action for the first time since September after featuring for the Ireland A side at the start of the month.

Fly-half Jake Flannery will also earn his debut with the 23-year-old named to start at half-back alongside Nathan Doak.

Brothers Matty and Marcus Rea start at blindside and openside flanker with Cormac Izuchukwu to start alongside Sam Carter in the second row.

Ulster have won five of their six games so far this season, losing to Leinster at home, while winless Zebre are at the foot of the table.

Ulster: Stewart Moore; McIlroy, Hume, Marshall, Stockdale; Flannery, Doak; Reid, Stewart, Marty Moore; Izuchukwu, Carter; Matty Rea, Marcus Rea, Vermeulen (capt).

Replacements: Andrew, Warwick, Toomaga-Allen, Henderson, McCann, McDonald, Curtis, Moxham.

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