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Robbie Henshaw: Bundee is a huge addition - you just never know what he will do


Robbie Henshaw, right, and Bundee Aki after their side’s win over Munster

Robbie Henshaw, right, and Bundee Aki after their side’s win over Munster


Robbie Henshaw, right, and Bundee Aki after their side’s win over Munster

The victory over Munster was one of the special moments in my career so far but it won't count for much if we can't back it up against Edinburgh this evening.

Saying all that, it's not often we beat Munster and the performance we put together was the most pleasing aspect.

There was so much to take from that game but to come back from 13-0 down after 16 minutes and beat one of our biggest rivals in weather like that was unbelievable.

To play such a big part and start finding that connection with Bundee Aki in the centre is another massive plus for me. I hadn't much game-time over the Christmas period so to come back in and have a guy like that playing beside me made it much easier.

He's a class act - the best thing about playing alongside a guy like that is that teams don't know what to expect from him. He is so strong in contact and he runs those lines as well.

The opposition don't know who is going to get it, when they're expecting him to get it and crash it up he does something different.

And it was Bundee who called the play for our first try against Munster. He spotted the gap behind the Munster defence - he had a word with Craig Ronaldson and then shouted over to me.

That try from Kieran Marmion set us on our way and although we only have five points from three inter-pros over Christmas it was definitely the ideal way to wrap it up.


I played in the game against Leinster, but I felt we didn't click. The conditions weren't ideal and it just didn't feel I had enough time on the ball.

For me then it was off to Irish camp for the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of Christmas week. It was a pretty straightforward squad meet and we just laid the foundations for what will hopefully be a long and busy year with the national set-up.

Basically we talked through the November Series and what our plans are for the Six Nations.

That's only a couple of weeks away now - we are due to meet up again just after the European matches and then onwards and upwards for the rest of the season.

It's going to be a hectic couple of months so it was nice to have a quieter Christmas. I was allowed to take the Ulster game off because of the IRFU Player Welfare protocols so I kicked up the feet with the family and then went up to Belfast to watch the game with them.

We had a nice stay in Belfast and it was definitely different being a spectator at the Kingspan Stadium. That's an impressive venue, the weather mightn't have been too good but it was packed up there and the atmosphere was fantastic.

We were disappointed we didn't get more than the losing bonus point but all considered it was a good performance. Similar to the last few minutes against Leinster it was just some simple errors that let us down so it was nice to put them right against Munster and to hold them out at the end.

There's nothing better than preventing a rival like that from sneaking a losing bonus point in the closing stages of a game. That would have definitely felt like a point gained for them so for us to hold out is a huge statement.

It shows that we are constantly learning and improving as a team and most importantly all of our season objectives are still intact - fortress Sportsground is still intact.

To go unbeaten there with seven wins and a draw is extremely important to us, so we plan to continue in that vein against Edinburgh tonight.

We might have been delighted to have beaten one of our rivals last time out but they also had huge scalp in defeating Glasgow.

With just two Pro12 sides in Scotland I'm sure it's ultra-competitive so they are going to be on a high coming to the Sportsground.

They won't have forgotten about Round 2 either - we beat them at Murrayfield with a try from Willie Faloon in the last minute and I'm sure they're still hurting from that.

It seems to be a tight one every time we play each other, outside of the disappointment we suffered out there last year, so I'm expecting another close game tonight.

But we want to be winning these games if we want to maintain or push for direct qualification into the Champions Cup. We're just four points ahead of Scarlets and a win for Edinburgh would bring them right back into the race for sixth as well, so the win is vital.

We know the season only gets harder after this, we're still right in it in the Challenge Cup and a win over Exeter would mean even more highly competitive rugby in the coming months, so we need to take what we can from the Pro12 games now.

It's no secret that Connacht have one of the smallest squads in the league so everyone has had a huge part to play all week as we prepare for a huge game against Edinburgh. All week long we have been talking about the importance of this fixture.

The Sportsground was fantastic last weekend against Munster and that atmosphere is a huge part of our proud record here this season. Let's keep the bandwagon rolling on tonight.

Irish Independent