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Henderson tips John Cooney to bounce back from Pro14 final omission

The Ulster scrumhalf will start tomorrow’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulouse after surprisingly being dropped last Saturday.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

ULSTER CAPTAIN IAIN Henderson has confidently stated that scrumhalf John Cooney has the mental fortitude to recover from being dropped for last weekend’s Pro14 decider.

Cooney lost out to Alby Mathewson last Saturday but has since been named in the Ulster team that will face Toulouse tomorrow in the Champions Cup quarter-final at the Stade Ernest-Wallon.

And Henderson has no doubt the 30-year-old Irish international will be fine under the heat of battle.

“John reads a lot of books and listens to a lot of podcasts on mental resilience and making sure you stay on top of your own mental performance,” said Henderson. “He knows exactly what to do.

“John has been in and out of squads in his career, has been dropped before, has switched teams and thankfully I think we’ve got the best version of John Cooney there’s ever been.

“He didn’t drop that in training last week even though he knew he was on the bench, and he knew that from the start of the week, his mentality was still the same.

“He was still out doing his kicks after training. He could easily have sacked that off and said he was feeling a bit down that day, but he still went through his week’s work the way he usually would. It was great to see, and it gave a lot of guys encouragement.

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“There were times in years gone by when players were dropped and you would have put a line through their names in training because they barely would have showed up. But the positive reaction we get off guys after something negative is brilliant.”

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Garry Doyle

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