Jared Payne eager to find World Cup rapport with returning centre Robbie Henshaw
Published 22/09/2015 | 14:55
Jared Payne is keen to ease his centre partnership with Robbie Henshaw into World Cup form against Romania on Sunday.
Ireland boss Joe Schmidt will hope Henshaw can return to full training on Wednesday in a bid to beat hamstring trouble in time for the weekend Pool D clash at Wembley.
Henshaw missed Ireland's 50-7 victory over Canada in Cardiff, and only went through light jogging in Monday's training session.
Ulster centre Payne hopes to be paired back with Henshaw sooner rather than later, with pivotal clashes against Italy and France to follow the Romania match.
"It would be nice to get some time together with Robbie but whoever Joe picks, we've got to make sure that we get together, do our video work then build the combinations as best we can," said Payne.
"And then hopefully come the game it's pretty seamless."
Leinster's Luke Fitzgerald stepped in at the last-minute to replace Henshaw for Ireland's World Cup opener against Canada.
"Luke (Fitzgerald) came in and slotted in pretty seamlessly well on the weekend and that was only from a Thursday," said Payne. "So we've got to take a lead from that, follow his example and try to do a job.
"Robbie was jogging around out there on Monday, so I think he was moving well enough. And we'll see what happens in the next few days I guess."
Ireland will be keen to restore their first-choice partnership in time for the Italy and France clashes, even if Schmidt opts to mix up selection against the world's 17th ranked side Romania.
Schmidt admitted Henshaw and Payne were a "manufactured midfield" when first thrown together as the successors to Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll.
Now Ireland's settled centres however, the duo are expected to thrive in this campaign.
New Zealand-born Payne tipped Connacht's rising 21-year-old star Henshaw for future world dominance.
"Robbie's got a great passing game, very good feet and he's big and abrasive too," said Payne.
"And in a few more years he's going to be one of the standout centres in world rugby.
"We both had some pretty big boots to fill with D'Arcy and Drico going when we got thrown in there, but I think we handled it pretty well.
"When Joe first put us together, he just told us to chat to each other a lot and to look at videos to study each other's game to build a combination.
"He gave us confidence to back our skills and try to bring that together as best we could.
"And then any time you get picked together for several games then hopefully you realise you're doing something right."