Henson cited over elbow incident in cup rough house

Chris Hewett
Tuesday 20 December 2005 01:00

Bill Dunlop, the citing officer from Scotland, has pointed the finger at the Welsh centre after viewing video footage of an flare-up in which Henson's heavily tanned elbow appeared to connect with the misshapen nose of Alex Moreno, the Leicester prop. Henson will answer the charge in Glasgow on Friday.

A second Ospreys player, the 21-year-old lock Ian Evans, will also find himself before the disciplinary tribunal. He was cited for an alleged kick in an incident that left Harry Ellis, the England scrum-half, with damaged knee ligaments. Pat Howard, the Leicester coach, said immediately after the game that Ellis's injury was "significant" - grim news indeed this close to the start of the Six Nations Championship, which begins in February.

By common consent, Henson was the victim of some rough treatment from Leicester during the first meeting between the two sides at Welford Road nine days ago. His entanglement with the rugged Moreno occurred early in the return match and the front-rower paid two visits to the blood bin.

Ospreys will probably defend their man on the grounds of provocation, but whatever the outcome, Henson could have done without returning to the headlines in this precise fashion.

By winning Sunday's match with the last attack of the afternoon, Leicester are in contention for a place in the quarter-finals. Their task has not been made any easier by the tournament organisers' latest schedule, however. The Midlanders' sixth and final group game against Clermont Auvergne will be played in France on Friday 20 January, leaving only a six-day turnaround following their big home match with Stade Francais the previous Sabbath.

Television calls the tune in Heineken quarters these days, and the broadcasters like their Friday-night rugby. Leicester would probably enjoy it too, given an even break. Unfortunately for the Midlanders, this break is wholly lop-sided. Clermont Auvergne are not in the shake-up for qualification, but are unlikely to turn up their toes against major English opposition, especially as they have lost only once at the Parc des Sports Marcel-Michelin this season.

* Three players from Saracens' 18-10 victory over Ulster on Saturday will appear before Friday's disciplinary hearing in Glasgow. The Ulster locks Justin Harrison and Matt McCullough, and Saracens prop Kevin Yates, have been cited for punching during a bad-tempered clash at Vicarage Road.

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