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Henderson Cleared To Play Following Disciplinary Hearing

Henderson Cleared To Play Following Disciplinary Hearing

Fit-again lock Iain Henderson is back in the selection mix for Ireland's third round encounter with Italy ©INPHO/Gary Carr

Iain Henderson has avoided suspension and is free to play for Ireland against Italy next Sunday. The Ulster lock faced a disciplinary hearing today via video conference after he was cited for an incident during the province’s 8-0 GUINNESS PRO14 win away to the Ospreys last Friday night.

A disciplinary committee met in Edinburgh to consider the charge against Henderson who was reported by the citing commissioner for alleged infringement of law 9.11 – players must not do anything that is dangerous to others. It related to an incident in the 14th minute of the game in clearing out a ruck.

The all-Scottish disciplinary committee, comprising of Roddy Dunlop QC (chair), Ian Douglas and Beth Dickens, reviewed the video clips and reports, and heard explanations from the player and his representatives.

Henderson had been attempting a legitimate manoeuvre which was destabilised by another player. The player admitted that an act of foul play had occurred, as his arm had been around the shoulder and neck of Ospreys openside flanker Sam Cross.

The panel agreed that an act of foul play was shown, but considered that it merited a yellow card only given the limited ability of Henderson to take avoiding action in a short space of time. As the act did not merit an on-field red card, the citing complaint was not upheld.

The outcome of the hearing means that the Ulsterman, who was named in Ireland’s extended squad for this weekend’s Italy game, is free to play. He missed the opening two Guinness Six Nations matches against England and Scotland with a finger injury, but returned to play the full 80 minutes of Ulster’s clash with the Ospreys last Friday.