Monday 26 September 2016

Ulster's Iain Henderson cleared to play after red card was deemed 'unwarranted'

Published 13/05/2015 | 14:48

9 May 2015; Ulster's Iain Henderson, left, is shown a red card by referee Nigel Owens. Guinness PRO12, Round 21, Ulster v Munster. Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
9 May 2015; Ulster's Iain Henderson, left, is shown a red card by referee Nigel Owens. Guinness PRO12, Round 21, Ulster v Munster. Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Ulster have been given a massive boost in their bid to bid to be crowned Guinness Pro12 champions after Iain Henderson's red card against Munster at the weekend was deemed to be 'unwarranted'.

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The back row has been the province's most influential player since his return from injury in January but his season was plunged into doubt after he was sent-off in Ulster's 25-all draw with Munster at Kingspan Stadium last Saturday.

The 23-year-old back row was given a straight red by referee Nigel Owens on the advice of TMO Kevin Beggs for perceived use of the head when clearing Munster wing Ronan O’Mahony ruck deep with six minutes to go in the game

A statement from the all-Welsh disciplinary committee today read: “Having viewed the incident in close-up (which the match referee had not been able to do at the time), the Disciplinary Committee concluded that the player’s initial contact with his opponent had not in fact been with his head but with his arm.”

With the final round of games taking place this weekend and the semi-finals and finals taking place over the following two weekends, a ban of more than two weeks would have ended Henderson's season.

Henderson will now be available for this weekend's crucial clash with the Glasgow Warriors.

There is extra impetus for Ulster this season with the Pro12 final scheduled to take place at Kingspan Stadium.

Watch highlights of the game and the Henderson incident below:

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