However, his inclusion remained in jeopardy as he was under the threat of suspension until late Tuesday afternoon due to a citing that stemmed from his Ulster comeback last Friday night.
Henderson, who had missed the opening two rounds of the Six Nations due to a finger injury sustained during mid-January Champions Cup duty with Ulster, was declared fit for Ireland after playing the full 80 minutes of his provincial side’s league win over Ospreys at Bridgend.
However, that initial good news was tempered by Monday’s development that he was to face a league disciplinary hearing via video conference after he was cited for an allegedly dangerous ruck clearance in the 14th minute of his return to play.
? Decision of Disciplinary Hearing – Iain Henderson
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) February 19, 2019
A ban would have ruled him out of the Test selection shake-up to face Italy. But the disciplinary hearing committee, which sat in Edinburgh and comprised Roddy Dunlop (chair), Ian Douglas and Beth Dickens, reviewed the video clips and reports, heard explanations from the player and his representatives.
Henderson, who had been attempting a legitimate manoeuvre which was destabilised by another player, admitted an act of foul play had occurred as his arm had been around the shoulder and neck of an Ospreys opponent.
? BIG CALL in that first half!
Iain Henderson got away with just a penalty for this dangerous neck roll ?
— Premier Sports ? (@PremierSportsTV) February 15, 2019
The panel agreed that an act of foul play was proven. However, they considered it only merited a yellow card given the limited ability of Henderson to take avoiding action in a short space of time.
Because the act did not merit an on-field red card, the citing complaint was not upheld and it leaves Henderson in with the chance of playing for Ireland next weekend.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.