Not the news Andy Farrell was hoping for.
Ireland have been dealt a massive blow with the news that Ulster’s Iain Henderson has received a three-week ban for his red card offence against the Ospreys at the weekend.
Henderson was given his marching orders when his shoulder made contact with the head of Dan Evans when attempting to clear out a ruck in the 75th minute of the northern province’s 24-12 win.
A ban was always expected due to the nature of the offence but it is disappointing for the player and Ireland that the three-week ban will see Iain Henderson miss Ireland’s two remaining Six Nations fixtures against Italy and France.
Henderson’s ban has seen Farrell’s Ireland second-row stocks depleted further after it was confirmed this week that Leinster’s Ryan Baird would miss the next two games due to an adductor strain he picked up playing against Benetton.
Connacht’s Ultan Dillane was called up as Baird’s replacement which leaves Tadhg Beirne, Quinn Roux, James Ryan and Dillane as the only fit and available locks.
Munster’s Fineen Wycherley can also play second-row but it’s unlikely that he will be involved as he is a part of the expanded training group.
Henderson’s red card offence was originally deemed a mid-range offence which comes with a ban of six weeks. However, this was reduced by 50% due to his clean disciplinary record, remorse and co-operation throughout the process.
He can return to play from November 9.