Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw has ‘unfinished business’ with the Lions after the disappointment of 2017 tour

Robbie Henshaw passes the ball during a Lions training session. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Rúaidhrí O’Connor

He may be a strong favourite to earn a starting spot in the team for the Lions Test series against South Africa, but Robbie Henshaw is taking nothing for granted this month.

Warren Gatland has been effusive in his praise of the Athlone native in the build-up to tomorrow’s opening fixture against Japan, hailing him as “the outstanding midfielder in the Six Nations”.

Henshaw has been in excellent form for Leinster and Ireland – and admits he feels he has something to prove after a disappointing first tour in 2017, when he was out of the Test running and ended up getting injured and going home early.

This time he’s determined to leave his mark, and that starts by performing against a strong Brave Blossoms side at Murrayfield.

“I’ve played OK this season, but so have all the other lads who have been picked. We are all starting from scratch. There’s no credit in the bank,” he said.

“Absolutely there is unfinished business. It was hard to get going in 2017 before my tour got cut short. Being a first-time tourist, it is like nothing else you have experienced before. Everything is a different level.

“I just need to be myself. I want to influence others around me, by being brave and having a go.

“I want to build on my performances. It is a challenge to go into a new environment and there’s new players, new calls – and you will need to get up to speed really quickly, and learn everyone’s traits.

“I massively enjoyed the experience in 2017, but I definitely have more to offer this time around and, hopefully, I get the opportunity to show that if I keep my head down and work hard.”