Tuesday 25 April 2017

Brian O'Driscoll: Robbie Henshaw can make the number 13 jersey his own

Brian O'Driscoll has praised Robbie Henshaw
Brian O'Driscoll has praised Robbie Henshaw
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Brian O’Driscoll has backed Robbie Henshaw to make the number 13 jersey his own for Ireland.

Today, Joe Schmidt dropped a massive hint that Henshaw will be given his shot at outside centre against South Africa tomorrow week.

The 21-year-old Athlone native ran in the No13 channel at the open training session at the Aviva Stadium this morning and is the odds on favourite to win his fourth cap in daunting circumstances against the Springboks.

The rising Connacht star shadowed Brian O’Driscoll through last season and has had to be patient since winning his third cap off the bench against Australia last November.

Robbie Henshaw in action today during an open training session ahead of their Guinness Series Autumn Internationals
Robbie Henshaw in action today during an open training session ahead of their Guinness Series Autumn Internationals

However, when asked if Henshaw was ready for the challenge, Schmidt said: “In nine days time, we’ll know.”

O’Driscoll was full of praise for Henshaw on tonight’s Late Late show and said that Ireland will find someone to fill his own boots.

 “At no time at any stage is anyone irreplaceable. The team always manages in any sport the world over, they manage to move on from players who have been there a while,” said O’Driscoll.

“I look at the guys who are there and the guys who are touted as potential number 13s and there is a huge talent of players.

“I really rate Robbie Henshaw in Connacht. I think he has learned a huge amount for a young guy. The game is very different now then what it was when I broke into the scene where it’s hard for young guys to make an impact because there are that many playing.

“Obviously Jared Payne who is a very talented footballer. He is probably a tiny bit better as a full back than a 13. He is a world class full back and an excellent 13.

“I think those two boys would do the jersey every bit of justice it deserves.” 

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