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Irish legends disagree on Robbie Henshaw’s ‘on the edge’ hit


‘I would say Robbie’s out of control there.’

Robbie Henshaw’s monster hit on young Ulster winger Robert Baloucoune was the subject of much discussion between Tommy Bowe, Gordon D’Arcy and Peter Stringer after the game.

Ulster were on the attack inside Leinster’s 22 after a great break from Billy Burns inside his own half, but were unable to capitalise on the opportunity when Henshaw stopped a potential try with a shuddering hit on Baloucoune.

Iain Henderson used his captain’s challenge to no avail as referee Mike Adamson and TMO Olly Hodges deemed Henshaw’s hit to be just below the neck of the Ulsterman.

Bowe, D’Arcy and Stringer debated the tackle at half time on Eir Sport, with the former Ulster winger convinced that the tackle was at least worthy of a penalty against Henshaw.

“Let’s talk about discipline and some of the decisions. We have to look at the captain’s challenge and that tackle by Robbie Henshaw,” Bowe started.

“I think Liam Toland (Eir Sport commentator) hit the nail on the head. Yes, according to the rule book he was probably right. But it’s not what we want to see at home.

“I would say Robbie’s out of control there. If there was a subtle movement by Robert Baloucoune at the last moment and he drops, that’s a red card.”

D’Arcy argues that Henshaw had made a legitimate tackle.

While former Leinster centre D’Arcy acknowledged that the tackle was the “very definition of on the edge” he argued that Henshaw had done nothing wrong.

“You don’t deal in ifs, you deal in what’s happened in the game… The referee has done his checklist. This isn’t just a Leinster thing – he’s wrapped his arms, there’s no contact with the head,” D’Arcy said.

Former Munster scrum-half Peter Stringer, perhaps the neutral party in the debate, was of the opinion that Henshaw was “lucky” not to receive a sanction from the officiating team.

“I think he’s very lucky. I think the referee has gone through his checklist and he’s deemed that Henshaw’s shoulder hasn’t made contact with the head,” Stringer commented.

“It is reckless, he’s gone high. I think his arm has followed through quite high. He’s very, very lucky.”

Leinster went on to win the game by 21 points to 17, as Henshaw scored a crucial try for the home side in the second half and picked up the man of the match award for his efforts.

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