Ulster will appeal Henderson red card says coach Neil Doak

Ulster Iain Henderson is shown the red card by referee Nigel Owens against  Munster
Ulster Iain Henderson is shown the red card by referee Nigel Owens against Munster

Ulster head coach Neil Doak said last night Ulster would be appealing the red card decision on backrow forward, Iain Henderson.

The Irish international was sent off by referee Nigel Owens for leading with the head or forearm when hitting Ronan O’Mahony at a ruck during Saturday’s crucial Guinness PRO12 clash with Munster at the Kingspan Stadium.

Ulster head coach Neil Doak

Ulster head coach Neil Doak

In spite of going down to 14-men and conceding a Keith Earls try immediate after the incident, Ulster railled and a last gasp try from replacement Paul Marshall and Paddy Jackson’s touchline conversion earned them a 23-all draw.

Asked what his opinion was on the red card, Doak admitted he had not had a proper opportunity to review it, but from what they saw on the big screen at the ground and on their own smaller screens, he felt it was “unbelievably harsh.”

“I do not think Hendy (Hendrson) showed any intent to go in and clean any body out around the head,” added Doak. “But I think that has been the season for us so far this year that we have not got the rub of the green in certain decisions and obviously a red card would be a certain ban but we would be appealing it.”

It is Ulster’s third red card this season in the Guinness PRO12 and their fifth in a calendar year.

Munster head coach Anthony Foley was reluctant to comment on the Henderson red card in detail, although he did point out that the Ulsterman had not bound himself to O’Mahony in rucking.

“Look, you have to be bound into a ruck with your shoulders, so I don’t know where the contact was,” said Foley.

We couldn’t see it clearly where the contact was, but obviously it was clear enough for the TMO, the touch judge to cite it originally and then Nigel had to make a decision based on what was presented to him.

“From my point of view, I’m not going to talk about it.”

The draw saw Munster move level on points with Ospreys and Glasgow, but they still hold third place in the standings leaving it all to play for on the final weekend of the regular league season for the home semi-final spots, although Ulster need to win in Glasgow and a favour from Connacht or Dragons to steer them into a home semi.

This year’s final will be played at the Kingspan Stadium on May 30

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