Henshaw eager for more

10/06/2013

@AdamRedmond reports from Toronto, Canada
LAST Saturday night Connacht's Robbie Henshaw joined Gordon D'Arcy, Rhys Ruddock and Luke Fitzgerald as a teenage Ireland debutant in the professional era and it looks like he will win plenty more caps based on his performance against the USA.
 
Henshaw brought some serious physicality to an attritional game and in the opening minutes landed some powerful hits on American attackers, but is today shaking off the effects of a stinger injury to his left shoulder he sustained trying to reclaim a kick-off in the second half.
 
"I felt comfortable at the start, got myself into the game and did what I usually do.
The Americans were extremely physical and we knew they would be with their centres and back-rows crashing it. I took a few big hits myself and I’m feeling it," he said afterwards. "I was pretty happy with getting my first cap, my parents were there and I was happy with  my performance, so, overall, I was happy."
 
Getting capped at the age of 19 is an an experience that he will cherish, but it could have been even better had he just held his run after Fergus McFadden burst the American defence and gave Henshaw a clear run to the line, however, the Connacht youngster failed to make the pass stick. 
 
"I got into the game early with those hits and got going, unfortunately I got caught in the headlights and let the ball slip by me. It wasn’t a knock-on, it slipped out of my hands and off my hip. I should have slowed up a small bit, the lights were shining down and my vision was blurred. These things happen and I need to learn from it."
 
The temperature did not reach the 30C mark as had been feared and even when the sun dipped the humidity took its toll on the players, as Henshaw explained.
 
"The conditions were pretty tough to play in and we prepared for that and knew what it was going to be like. Two teams had to play in it, at the same time, so we just had to get on with," he said. 
 
Already this season Henshaw has been a star performer for Connacht in Europe and while some may have dismissed the challenge of the Americans before this match, Henshaw said the intensity was far greater in Houston.
 
"Definitely, Iit was a big step higher than European or provincial rugby. It was a faster game, it was free-flowing and the hits were bigger. We got the win in the end, that is what we wanted. We wanted a good performance, we did get a good performance and we have to build on that next week."
 
Henshaw is slated to retain his place at full back against Canada this week, but the coaching staff are keen to give Felix Jones some game time. It would also be nice to see Henshaw get some time at outside centre and it's an idea the coaches are thought to be considering.
 
@AdamRedmond
 
 

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