IRISH centre Ron Henderson has been told by his club Wasps that he will not be released for Ireland’s proposed two match tour of South Africa next week because they feel it would be foolish to allow the 28-year-old to travel with a shoulder injury.
Nigel Melville, Wasps director of rugby, insisted: “Rob will be out of action for two weeks after a partial dislocation of the bone that joins his collarbone and sternum.
“The injury could have been much worse, but a scan has confirmed he will be out for just a couple of weeks. If Ireland go to South Africa I will tell their management that Rob is not fit to play and should not go. We don’t have to release him because that agreement only covers international matches.
“They have arranged the trip to give the Irish based players some action, but Rob already has domestic games and we face Newcastle on March 29 and Rotherham on April 1. Rob doesn’t have anything to prove to the Irish selectors because he has been in outstanding form this season.
“I do not want him travelling abroad and then playing on a hard ground in South Africa too early.
“Ireland should just let him recover with us and accept that he has vital league matches to play and they will be much tougher than the fixtures they arrange out there.”
Meanwhile, apart from the appointment of John Quilligan of Garryowen as the incoming junior vice president, very little else emerged from the IRFU yesterday after an agreement with the Department of Agriculture to postpone their meeting regarding the effects of FMD on the rugby programme until today. Accordingly, the clubs had to wait another 24 hours to know whether or not they would be back in AIB League action tomorrow week, or whether the schools cup competitions could renew activities.
The appointment of Quilligan is a reward for his devoted service to the game in Munster and throughout the country over the past eleven years. He joined the Garryowen committee in 1987, became the club’s Munster Branch delegate three years later and was elected to the IRFU committee in 1994. Since then, he has been a member of various sub committees and has chaired the Clubs of Ireland Working committee for the past three years.
There is still no confirmation as to whether the proposed tour of South Africa by the Irish squad will take place. The odds are still in favour of Warren Gatland’s players leaving Ireland on March 26th for two or three matches in the Cape Town area between March 31 and April 7.
The Munster Schools Branch yesterday announced their forthcoming schedule of matches subject to clearance from the Department of Agriculture: on Monday the Senior Cup semi final, Rockwell v CBC at Thomond Park (3.30pm); junior semi final, Rockwell v Ard Scoil Ris, Thomond Park back pitch (1. 30pm); Senior Cup final, St Munchins v CBC or Rockwell, Thomond Park, Sunday, April 1.
The second junior semi final between Cashel Community School and CBC is scheduled for the weekend ending Sunday, March 25 on a date and time yet to be decided. It is also planned that the junior final will go ahead on Sunday, April 1, in Limerick. Meanwhile England scrum half Matt Dawson has been fined and reprimanded by Northampton.
The Franklin’s Gardens side have decided to take action after reviewing two incidents in the Saints’ 12 9 home defeat by Leicester on Saturday.
Tigers fullback, Ireland’s Geordan Murphy had to be replaced at half time after suffering a back injury when Dawson appeared to drop his knees into the visiting player.
Pat Howard was then forced off the field for treatment after being caught by a high tackle for which Dawson also escaped on field punishment.
Tigers coach Dean Richards had been considering whether to cite Dawson for his actions.
Leicester skipper Martin Johnson was banned for five weeks after Saracens instigated RFU action following a Tetley’s Bitter Cup game in December.
Richards has been deeply critical of the citing procedure and it would appear that today’s action by Northampton will probably head off further punishment for the England man.
‘‘The club held a hearing in light of two incidents involving Pat Howard and Geordan Murphy during last week’s match,’’ said an official Northampton statement.
‘‘The hearing found that although there was no malice in Dawson’s actions, he had behaved recklessly.
‘‘In light of this, the player has been reprimanded and fined.”