Iain Henderson: Ireland 44 caps:
(Second Row/Back Row)
Iain Henderson’s entire school career was spent at the Academy and his early promise as a rugby player along with his general ball skills were initially well developed at Ben Madigan. At the Main School his real potential emerged with a number of excellent performances each year and in the Schools’ Cup Final of 2010 he was widely regarded as the outstanding player on the pitch. Despite his obvious impressive abilities Iain was not selected for Ulster Schools or Ireland Schools and his first representative appearance was at Under 19 Level for Ireland. Iain has played club rugby for Academy RFC and Queen’s University RFC and in 2012 he made his debut for Ulster, for whom he has now made 101 performances. In July 2019 Iain was appointed Ulster Captain.
After School Iain had a meteoric rise in representative rugby. In 2011 and 2012 he made a total of 20 appearances for the Ireland Under 20 team, helping that side to fifth place in the World Championship in South Africa in 2012. Following his debut for Ulster in April 2012 he then made his debut for Ireland at 20 years of age in a winning team against South Africa in November 2012. He has been ever present in the Ireland squad since 2012 and was a member of the Six Nations Championship winning teams of 2014, 2015 and the Grand Slam winning team of 2018. This was Ireland’s third Grand Slam win and only the second since 1948 when Jack Kyle was in the side.
Following some excellent performances for Ireland Iain was selected for the British and Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand in 2017. He became only the Academy’s second Lion after Jack Kyle and although he did not play in a Test match he did play in six of the nine matches that comprised the Tour. With his outstanding all round rugby skills Iain has rightly been described as a world class player and he is on course to become Academy’s most capped international player.