Wednesday 28 September 2016

Ulster 'disbelief' as Henderson's season hangs in the balance

Published 12/05/2015 | 02:30

Ulster's Iain Henderson received a controversial red card for leading into a ruck with his head during Saturday’s Guinness Pro12 draw against Munster and could be suspended for the rest of the campaign
Ulster's Iain Henderson received a controversial red card for leading into a ruck with his head during Saturday’s Guinness Pro12 draw against Munster and could be suspended for the rest of the campaign

Ulster star Iain Henderson will find out if his season is over at a disciplinary hearing in Wales tomorrow.

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The Ireland forward received a controversial red card for leading into a ruck with his head during Saturday's Guinness Pro12 draw against Munster and could be suspended for the rest of the campaign

Ulster are set to contest the charge, while the 23-year-old's previously unblemished record should stand him in good stead, but with the northern province travelling to Glasgow Warriors on Saturday before facing a semi-final a week later, they can ill-afford to lose the in-form flanker for their run-in.

Henderson was adjudged to have instigated a head-to-head collision with Munster's Ronan O'Mahony by referee Nigel Owens, who viewed the incident from several angles before reaching for the red card.

Massive

"He's a massive person and he's massive on the pitch. Having someone like that ball-carrying, disrupting rucks - flip, I just desperately hope he doesn't miss the whole season," out-half Paddy Jackson said of Henderson.

"We were all in disbelief, he said he didn't even make contact with him with the head and I think Nigel said: 'You can't lead with the head', but I can't really see any other way of going into a ruck - not going head first, but going in upright.

"It's just unfortunate for Iain, the way things are going it looks like he might miss the end of the season, but we'll see what happens."

Jackson still believes Ulster can beat the Warriors at Scotstoun and secure a home semi-final, even if Saturday's result leaves it out of their hands.

"Definitely. That's what we've been talking about. Win, lose or draw today we were gong to have to go to Glasgow anyway. So yeah, we're going there to win," he said.

The in-form fly-half nailed a touchline conversion to earn a share of the spoils against Munster to cap off a brilliant display at Kingspan Stadium.

He is coming into his own at just the right time and, although he hasn't heard anything from Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, who was in Belfast last weekend to see Jackson's excellent display, he knows that his performances are putting him in the frame for the World Cup.

"I have been happy with how I've been playing. I don't think things were running as smoothly as they have been in the last few games," he said.

"I was pretty annoyed with one pass which didn't leave enough air for Jared (Payne). But if keep this form up I should be able to be thereabouts. I'm just desperate to try and win something here and we've another big game next week against Glasgow."

Irish Independent

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