Iain Henderson free to play against Italy following disciplinary hearing

By Steve Neville

Ireland have received a boost ahead of their clash with Italy after Iain Henderson was deemed free to play following a disciplinary hearing.

Henderson had been cited while playing for Ulster against Ospreys when trying to clear a ruck.

He was cited for an alleged infringement of Law 9.11 - Players must not do anything that is dangerous to others.

A statement from the Pro14 stated: "The Player [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 No 7."

The Disciplinary Committee said that an "act of foul play was shown" but said it only merited a yellow card "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.

The player is free to play.

Henderson being cleared to play against Italy is a massive boost to Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt who also welcomed back Tadhg Beirne to his squad for Sunday's clash in Rome.

Henderson - and Beirne - had missed the opening two rounds of the Six Nations due to injury. but are not available to face Italy.

Munster centre Chris Farrell was also deemed fit but there was bad news for Garry Ringrose and Rhys Ruddock who have remained at Leinster with hamstring injuries.

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