Monday 19 August 2019

Joe Schmidt gives Robbie Henshaw fitness update as Peter O'Mahony dismisses World Cup revenge ahead of Pumas clash

Leinster's Robbie Henshaw
Leinster's Robbie Henshaw
David Kelly

David Kelly

ROBBIE Henshaw's slight hamstring strain will not rule him out of Leinster's Champions Cup December double-header against Exeter Chiefs despite being forced to miss this weekend's Guinness Series clash against Argentina.

"At a push, he could have potentially been involved but it should see him fine for what is coming up," said Ireland coach Joe Schmidt after naming his side to face Argentina which includes Chris Farrell as Henshaw's replacement.

"This window is ideal for us to see guys in pressurised situations and after Chris did well last weekend, this is another opportunity for him."

Four of Ireland's three-quarters line have only five caps between them as Ireland continue to broaden their depth two years out from the next World Cup.

"Adam Byrne has given us the confidence to include him," said Schmidt of the Leinster wing sensation, who earns his first cap on the right-wing.

"He is picking up information all the time and with experience around him, I hope he gets a good hit-out.

"It will be a challenging day for the outside backs, three of the four only have five caps between them.

"We've always had new blood coming in. It was exaggerated during the summer with the Lions tour and older players missing out. We are casting the net reasonably wide."

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Ireland's last World Cup, of course, demonstrated a lack of depth in the Irish squad when they were blitzed by Argentina but Schmidt is not keen to reflect on that dark day as he pitches the development of his side towards the future.

"If we're looking two years backwards, how are looking forwards? There's a danger in looking back because how can we learn? There are only half a dozen survivors from that game.

"We will be focusing on ourselves rather than Argentina. They are much changed as well. We want to get something out of this game because it is tight heading into the Six Nations and we can see how the other home nations are doing well."

Peter O'Mahony, one of those who missed out during the World Cup, insisted that his side will not be interested in revenge, as much as many supporters might be.

"It's another opportunity to wear an Irish jersey," says the Munster back-row. "It will be an incredible challenge, it always is against Argentina.

We're always looking for improvement. If you stand still, you get spat out the back. We're an intelligent group and every opportunity is a lesson."

Schmidt also hailed the return to Ireland of former Leinster tight-head Marty Moore, who will play in Ulster next season after a fitful two-year stint at Wasps.

"We were disappointed to go and he was frustrated too at the time so it is good to see him back. He has had two starts this year so it is about getting back and getting some good rhythm."

And the Irish coach was also keen to embrace the continued development of Ronan O'Gara as a coach following the confirmation that the Corkman, who helped to coach Ireland for a week in Japan last summer, will join Super Rugby Crusaders ahead of the new season.

"I know he is driven to succeed. The Crusaders environment is a brilliant one to get into. Scott Robertson was at our game against South Africa and he is excited. And I'm sure Ronan can bring some learnings into the future."


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