| 0.5°C Dublin

Leinster have to take the 'venom' out of Henshaw


Leinster's Dave Kearney and Zoe McGill aged 10 from Bray, Co.Wicklow.

Leinster's Dave Kearney and Zoe McGill aged 10 from Bray, Co.Wicklow.

Leinster's Dave Kearney and Zoe McGill aged 10 from Bray, Co.Wicklow.

Leinster will have to deal with the "raw power" of Connacht's Robbie Henshaw in the Guinness PRO12 League at The RDS tomorrow night.

That is the opinion of Dave Kearney as he gave a favourable review of what fellow Ireland international Henshaw brings to the game.

"He's a quality player. He's got great skills," he said.

"You don't need to look too far to see that he's a big, big man. He's strong and a good ball-carrier."

This comes as speculation persists that Henshaw is a wanted man by Leinster as a natural successor to Brian O'Driscoll as he was for his country against Australia in November.

"Robbie's got that real raw power to his game. He's a real raw player," said the left wing, now recovered from a hip flexor injury.

"He carries with a lot of venom and he's very strong when he does," acknowldged Kearney.

"He's a great threat for them and one of their best players so we'll have to keep close tabs him."

The potential combination with All Black Mils Muliaina and sharp centre Bundee Aki is a mouth-watering prospect in the west.

Anyway, there is an educated school of thought Leinster may already have the long-term solution to their problems at thirteen in Luke Fitzgerald.

"He's got good skills, he's got unbelievable feet, he can pass the ball really well and is good in defence.

"There's no reason why he can't play there," said Kearney.

This seems to fly in the face of Matt O'Connor's opinion as the coach regularly describes Fitzgerald as a "world-class winger".

The accusation that Leinster's supporters have been spoiled by the province's success do have a valid basis.

"I think when you are successful as a team there are always high expectations," said Kearney.

"You're never going to want to drop your standards or perform to a lesser extent that you did in previous years."

There comes a point when below-par performances must eat into confidence.

The fact is Leinster have been winning ugly at times, but winning all the same.

Has there been an over-reaction to the form guide?

"I think there has been," he considered.

"We did win silverware last year and got to the quarter-finals and were beaten by Toulon the champions.

"By no means was last year a bad year. It's a good year any time you win silverware.

"This season, we've had a couple of not our best performances, but it doesn't mean we're in a crisis.

"We're still doing alright in the PRO 12 and we're still in with a shout in Europe, so we're still in a decent spot," he stressed.