Sunday 21 January 2018

Robbie Henshaw: I have to pinch myself every now and then to say that I was in this position not too long ago

Robbie Henshaw, Connacht, following his side's victory. Guinness PRO12 Round 20, Connacht v Munster. The Sportsground, Galway. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ireland star Robbie Henshaw was the special guest at the Aviva Stadium yesterday where 20 clubs from across the country took part in the Aviva National Mini Rugby Festival.

Over 2,000 boys and girls from all over Ireland participated in the four provincial festivals in the past two months, which were hosted at Ballyclare RFC, Ballina RFC, UL Bohemians and Co Carlow RFC. 

The focus of the afternoon was to give the youngsters a chance to develop their skills in the national stadium and with Henshaw on hand to provide tips, there was plenty of excitement all afternoon.

This is the third time that the national festival has taken place at the Aviva Stadium and Henshaw admitted afterwards that it brought back memories of his underage playing days which given that he is still only 22, is not all that long ago.

“For the kids to get a run out here at the Aviva is unbelievable. It’s what every young kid dreams of when they’re growing up playing rugby,” Henshaw said.

“It’s great to see them happy and to give them a few tips and pointers here and there.

"Days like today bring me back to days when you go to your blitzes. It takes me back to the U-8s and the U-10s days.

“I have to pinch myself every now and then to say that I was in this position not too long ago.”

Henshaw came off the bench in Connacht’s shock defeat in Treviso last night but his side’s destiny remains in their own hands.

League leaders and defending champions Glasgow Warriors come to the Sportsground on the final day of the regular season next Saturday and Connacht know that a win would seal a home semi-final.

“I think we started really well, we went 14-0 up and then we just switched off a bit,” Henshaw conceded.

“We spilled a few balls which allowed them to turn it over and they thrive off that. They love unstructured play.

“They got two quick scores and went into the break at 14-12 and then we knew we were up against it, there was going to be a surge after half time.

“There was a few opportunities that we did miss. We weren’t clinical enough and we gave them too much ball. We spilled too much and gave them too many turnovers.”

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