Sunday 27 May 2018

Cullen coy over imminent switch for 'bright light' Henshaw

Leo Cullen: Tight-lipped. Photo: Sportsfile
Leo Cullen: Tight-lipped. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leo Cullen has refused to be moved on the suggestion that Robbie Henshaw is about to sign for Leinster.

Connacht confirmed on Sunday that the 22-year old would leave the Westerners at the end of the season, with his next destination fully expected to be Leinster.

The Irish Independent understands that Henshaw was in advanced talks with Munster up until last week before he decided on a move to Leinster instead.

An announcement is expected from Leinster before the end of the week but until it is made official, Cullen is remaining tight-lipped.

"Time will tell I guess. Similar to the other guys that have moved out of the environment, we are not commenting at the moment," the Leinster coach insisted.

"We'll try and get something released at some stage later this week about some of the guys that have resigned their contracts.

"There's constant negotiations going on with a whole host of players at the moment. We're in a position where we don't comment on them because the negotiations are taking place behind closed doors. They are not out in the public domain."

Cullen did, however, confirm that any player who is to join the club would be doing so on their own accord as opposed to being sanctioned by the IRFU.

With Ben Te'o leaving for Worcester at the end of the season, Leinster are on the look out for a new centre, but Cullen made it clear that he was not relying on just one player.

The prospect of Henshaw playing regularly outside of Johnny Sexton as well as linking up with Garry Ringrose is something that will have Leinster supporters purring with excitement and Cullen admitted that the Ireland centre would add a huge amount to whichever club he joins.

"He's one of the bright lights at the moment with Ireland over the last couple of years. Yeah whatever team gets him will be better off, you would think," Cullen said.

"We have some good young players coming through as well. We've been working away behind the scenes trying to renew guys' deals. There are always plenty of strands to these deals and building a squad.

"We are not trying to rely on any one individual. We are trying to build that depth. We've used 54 players already this year. Hopefully that will stand us in good stead going forward."

Meanwhile, Cullen revealed that Luke Fitzgerald is facing another six weeks out with his medial ligament problem, while he has backed Sexton and Sean O'Brien to overcome their recent run of injuries.

"Luke, because he's a stepper, there's guys that are involved in slightly higher collisions in terms of velocity," he said.

"Johnny's in a position again where there's a lot of traffic coming down that 10 channel so he's exposed a bit there.

"Seany. . . sometimes you can just get caught on a run or cycle and it can be hard to get out of. They're all quality players so hopefully it'll turn around for them. That's the nature of the game so you don't think about it."

Irish Independent

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