Wednesday 7 December 2016

X-Factor can help Connacht step up to next level, insists Henshaw

Declan Rooney

Published 13/05/2015 | 02:30

Robbie Henshaw, pictured in action playing for Connacht, is tackled by Richie Vernon, Glasgow Warriors, during the Guinness PRO12, Round 20, Connacht v Glasgow Warriors (Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE)
Robbie Henshaw, pictured in action playing for Connacht, is tackled by Richie Vernon, Glasgow Warriors, during the Guinness PRO12, Round 20, Connacht v Glasgow Warriors (Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE)

Robbie Henshaw thinks Connacht could have been challenging for a top-four spot this season had they taken the chances that came their way.

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Pat Lam's side are still in the running to claim sixth position and the final Champions Cup slot from the Pro12 with victory over league leaders Ospreys on Saturday, but the Irish international thinks this season could have delivered more for the province.

Connacht are relying on sixth-placed Scarlets losing away to Treviso, while claiming a first win in four games against Ospreys to reach the top European competition.

But Henshaw thinks that relying on those unlikely results could have been avoided had they beaten Scarlets, Edinburgh and Cardiff since Christmas.

"Potentially we (could be higher). Definitely looking back at a few results, we could have grabbed a few wins or we could have got a couple of losing bonus points in other games," said Henshaw, named in the league's team of the season this week.

"We'd definitely be up there in fifth or fourth. If we look back a few games we definitely could have won, we'd be sitting in a different position.

Improving

"It's all about improving at the end of the day. Not everyone is perfect, it's not a perfect world, it's all about improving and trying to fix our mistakes and get better week in, week out."

Now in his third season as a senior Connacht player, Henshaw has experienced a rapid rise though the ranks and he believes the sky's the limit for this Connacht team.

"It's gotten better every year, from Eric (Elwood) and Nigel (Carolan) bringing me through. From what I've seen it's gotten better year on year.

"The work Pat has done with us is incredible. There is a few young lads in there, it's quite a young backline and there is a lot of experience to be gained from this year alone.

"Jack Carty in there is doing incredibly well. He has had to take a lot on his shoulders this year with Dan Parks leaving. He's done incredibly well and he has stepped up when we've needed him.

"Matt Healy is having an incredible season. He has scored a lot of tries this year, he's really put his hand up. I think he is in with a shout, I'd say he is on the Irish radar at the moment with the way he is playing.

"There is X-factor in the back-line and we're pretty excited for the weekend. It might take a little bit of pressure off me to not be trying to do everything on my own. The lads are stepping up," he said.

Irish Independent

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