The incident saw Ospreys flanker Sam Cross land on his head, but it was adjudicated that it only warranted a yellow card and nothing more. Henderson is now free to face Italy in the Six Nations this weekend.
But this has angered a lot of fans on Twitter, who are growing tired with the inconsistencies of the citing process and refereeing in general. As player welfare increases and the laws are becoming more stringent, it has led to greater disparity in decisions made by officials, as some things are punished differently by different referees.
Iain Henderson avoids a ban. Disciplinary oiks at it again. No consistency whatsoever.
— Andrew Baldock (@balders2) February 19, 2019
Absolute joke that he didn’t get a ban for this – drove a players neck into the ground and showed no regard for his safety.
— Robert Rayner (@robertrayner) February 19, 2019
The relentless inconsistency in the global citing process is infuriating. The uncertainty this causes for players must be worrying let alone the example it sets for Juniors. One week it’s a red and a hefty ban, the next it’s ok ?
— Tom Bevan (@bigbev526) February 20, 2019
The citing lottery strikes again. Nobody would be that bothered with the decisions if there was consistency. At the moment the citing system is about as consistent as the French selection policy.
— Gavin Seymour (@Girvla) February 19, 2019
Unbelievable decision, simply no consistency
— Dom Mathias (@DomMathias30) February 19, 2019
That’s disgraceful. Where’s the consistency?. How long before a neck roll with head driven into ground results in a serious injury ie broken neck?.
— lloydrimmer07 (@lloyd_rimmer) February 19, 2019
Some fans are also suggesting that Ireland’s current injury crisis may have had a part to play in this decision. With Devin Toner already out, and Tadhg Beirne a doubt (he is now fit to play), Henderson’s return to the Irish set-up would have been a welcome relief after missing the first two rounds.
The 26-year-old has now been included in Ireland’s 34-man squad to face Italy in Rome this weekend.
Yeah, as a sport we're really serious about player welfare.(unless the player being disciplined might be needed in an international squad at the weekend).
It's important to always read the fine print
— Rhys Knott (@buck_mitchell) February 19, 2019
What a shock. Of course nothing to do with their Six nations second row injury crisis.
— Ben Parker (@benxparker) February 19, 2019
Wonder if same outcome if this incident was other way around? And Henderson is now available for remaining six nations matches if selected. Funny that.
— Dan Casey (@Dman_Casey) February 19, 2019
The incident has also drawn comparisons to Bath hooker Ross Batty’s red card and three-week ban he received in January. Many fans do not see a difference between these two clearouts, and the difference in their punishments has caused a lot of confusion.
One key difference is that Batty was playing in the Premiership and Henderson was playing in the Pro 14, which has led to some suggesting that the latter is slightly more lenient than other leagues. This will not do World Rugby any favours as they hope to increase consistency in officiating across competitions.
Of course, there are some mitigating factors here, and perhaps the fact that another Ulster player was also holding Cross’ leg may have worked in Henderson’s favour, but it is certainly understandable that the fans a growing tired with these inconsistencies in punishments in rugby at the moment.
Ross Batty got a red and three week ban for this…very very similar…. https://t.co/3D1qxvyF6n
— Matt Matthewman (@matt_matthewman) February 19, 2019
How has he got away with that one?!?!?!
It isn’t far off the batty red (& Van)
That is definitely a straight red too.
— Martin North (@seekingbestname) February 19, 2019
Who does the pro14 citings? Is this an opportunity to get the tinfoil hat out?
— Toby Baker (@TobyBaker2407) February 19, 2019
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