Iain Henderson signs new three-year deal with Ulster

Ulster forward Iain Henderson
Iain Henderson returned to action with Ulster in January after a lengthy injury lay-off

Ireland forward Iain Henderson is to remain an Ulster player until the summer of 2018 after signing a three-year deal with the Irish province.

The versatile 22-year-old is regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in Irish rugby and has won 14 caps.

Henderson missed the first half of this season through injury but came on as a second-half replacement in the Six Nations win over France on Saturday.

He has made 41 appearances for Ulster, having made his debut in April, 2012.

The Ulster Academy graduate is a valuable asset to club and country as he is equally at home in the second row or the back row.

His excellent form for Ulster at the start of the 2012-13 season saw him fast-tracked into the Ireland squad and he won his first international cap in November 2012, against South Africa.

He lined-out in four of Ireland's five matches in the successful 2014 Six Nations Championship campaign and started both games in Ireland's tour of Argentina last summer.

"As a proud Ulsterman it remains a massive honour to play for Ulster Rugby," said Henderson.

"By signing a new contract, it allows me to focus on achieving my personal goals alongside the ambitions here at Kingspan Stadium. I am very much looking forward to the next three years."

Ulster Rugby's Team Manager, Bryn Cunningham added: "Iain is without doubt one of the most exciting young players in European Rugby. An exceptionally powerful runner with ball-in-hand, his strength and high work-rate around the park make him a vital member of our squad.

"As we seek to build a team around a core group of highly talented, homegrown Ulster players, retaining the services of someone like Iain was hugely important to us.

"We know that with his ability and with what he has achieved already in the game that there were other leading European clubs extremely keen to sign him, therefore I am delighted that he has committed to his home province for a further three seasons."