Robbie Henshaw: Let me face Connacht to prove fitness for All Blacks
Robbie Henshaw wants Joe Schmidt to let him face his old team Connacht on Saturday week in order to be in the best shape possible for the Chicago meeting with New Zealand.
The Pro12 fixture takes place just seven days before Ireland and the All Blacks go head to head at Soldier Field, and Schmidt is expected to wrap most of his front-liners in cotton wool.
Henshaw, however, is set to make just his third appearance of the season against Montpellier on Sunday after overcoming a knee problem and says he needs the game-time to be ready for the opening November international.
The RDS clash would be Henshaw's first clash against his former team-mates and the Athlone native is keen to play.
"I haven't been told yet but personally I'd probably like to play because there's two games under the belt now, but I'd like to get as much game-time as I can to prove my fitness in the race to get on the plane for Chicago," the 23-year-old said.
"Having more game-time under the belt would definitely benefit me and give me a better chance of getting on that plane."
Henshaw was part of Schmidt's 24-hour training camp earlier this month as Ireland stepped up preparations for the daunting clash against the world champions, who would break the record for consecutive wins with victory over Australia at Eden Park on Saturday.
And the centre says the squad is fully aware of the challenge.
"We have one eye on how they're playing and every player has been told to analyse their games," he said.
"We have to focus on ourselves as well, because if our shape isn't right, if our systems aren't right we'll get beaten out the gate.
"We'll have to do our job 100pc if we're to be there come 80 minutes. We need to have ourselves right first before anything else."
Meanwhile, All Black legend Dan Carter looks set to be cleared of doping after an investigation, according to French newspaper l'Equipe.
The out-half was one of three Racing 92 players who testified before a hearing last week after they were found to have traces of corticosteroid in their systems after last June's Top 14 final.
Despite the report, Racing said the club and players had not yet been informed of the verdict.