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Iain Henderson set for Ireland call but Addison out of Italy trip


Big boost: Iain Henderson is free to face Italy on Sunday
Big boost: Iain Henderson is free to face Italy on Sunday
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

Iain Henderson is free to face Italy in the Six Nations on Sunday after a PRO14 disciplinary committee yesterday handed him only a warning.

A citing complaint had come after an incident in the 15th minute of Ulster's 8-0 win over Ospreys on Friday evening when Henderson had been clearing out a ruck.

At the time, a penalty was awarded to Ospreys but no further action was taken.

Appearing yesterday via video link, the Ulster star admitted that he'd been in the wrong, but the panel agreed that it was not worthy of a red card.

"(The) Player had been attempting a legitimate manoeuvre which was destabilised by another player," said the report. "The player admitted that an act of foul play had occurred, as his arm had been around the shoulder and neck of Ospreys' No 7.

"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 the player 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."

It is a big boost to Joe Schmidt who also has Munster's Tadhg Beirne back in training at Carton House. The second-row stocks had been diminished after Devin Toner required ankle surgery earlier this month with Connacht pair Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane both making the matchday 23 last time out.

Henderson has not featured for Ireland since the game against the USA back in November after two separate injuries to his hand.

He had thumb surgery in December before re-aggravating an old finger injury against Leicester Tigers in his comeback game last month. The latter injury kept him out of the clashes with England and Scotland to start the Six Nations but he is now in line to win a 43rd cap in Rome this weekend.

Another Ulsterman though is out of contention for the trip with Will Addison rehabbing back stiffness at his province.

There was also no place in the 34-man squad for fit-again Connacht scrum-half Kieran Marmion, seemingly guaranteeing that Ulster’s John Cooney will again play at the very least some part in the Stadio Olimpico in tandem with Conor Murray.

While Fivemiletown man Chris Farrell picked up an injury playing for Munster last week, he was fit to train at Carton House yesterday. Garry Ringrose and Rhys Ruddock, who was 24th man against Scotland, however, are back with Leinster after knocks.

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