Friday 28 October 2016

Keatley backs Henshaw to shine in provincial switch

John Fallon

Published 18/02/2016 | 02:30

Ian Keatley (Sportsfile)
Ian Keatley (Sportsfile)

Munster out-half Ian Keatley said that it is not easy to move from one province and play for another but he expects Robbie Henshaw to take it in his stride.

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Keatley also made the breakthrough with Connacht, where he spent three seasons after moving from his native Dublin, before moving on to join Munster. The 28-year-old is now in his fifth season with Munster and said he appreciates how difficult the decision can be to move to a rival province.

"Of course it's difficult, you been on the pitch with these guys. They've become your friends, you've played matches together, you've been through wars together and Robbie's decision to leave, I'm sure it wasn't an easy one.

"He is still in Ireland, which is great. Not many players are moving abroad so there's a lot of quality players staying in Ireland. It's disappointing news for Connacht. It's great for Leinster to have such a great player.

"I think that's the way the game is going. If you look at all the signings that the French clubs are making and the English clubs, the four provinces need to stay with them.

"As you can see there's five English clubs and three French clubs in the quarter-finals of the European Cup and we need to stick with them," said Keatley, who is concentrating on trying to get Munster's campaign back on track tomorrow when they travel to play champions Glasgow Warriors at Kilmarnock FC's stadium, the appropriately named Rugby Park, which has a 4G surface.

Munster, who will be without concussion victim Francis Saili, are boosted by the return of Irish internationals Tommy O'Donnell, Donnacha Ryan and James Cronin.

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