Sunday 16 June 2019

Robbie Henshaw on his shower song, the Boring Kearney twitter account and his squeezebox

Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

We met up with some of Ireland's biggest stars ahead of the Rugby World Cup and asked them to answer questions submitted by our readers. First up was Robbie Henshaw.

Robbie Henshaw

DOB: 12th Jun 1993

Birthplace: Athlone

Height: 6' 3"

Weight: 16 st 3 lb

Position: Centre / Full Back

Caps: 12

Tell us something we might not know about you?

I'm big into water sports and I play a little bit of Irish music as well.

What's on your Spotify for the Rugby World Cup?

Plenty of chilled out music, a little bit of Ben Howard and some high tempo music as well for before the game. There's a bit of everything really, for downtime and just to switch off.

Do you have a pre-match routine?

Yes, I'd always pack my bag and get my stuff ready the night before, have my boots cleaned in Rala's [Baggage Master] room, so I don't have anything to worry about. Then I'd put in my earphones before I get on the bus on the way to the stadium. I just chill out, get ready for the game, a little bit of visualisation and just a quick prayer before I go out on to the pitch.

Who were your sporting heroes when you were growing up and who would you really like to meet?

Jonah Lomu, I really admired him as a kid. I just remember that ad, when he was in the train station and he was running along and picked up a kid. I wanted to be that kid! Obviously Brian O'Driscoll is a big influence in Irish rugby and I always admired him as a kid. I loved watching Usain Bolt in the 100 metres and 200 metres.

What other sports do you play apart from rugby?

I play Gaelic and I play a little bit of soccer as well. Hopefully I'll go back to Gaelic one day.

Would you consider moving abroad like Johnny Sexton has done and Paul O'Connell is about to do?

Not at this moment in time. If I ever did move away it would definitely have an impact on me, because I would miss home. It's where I grew up, it's where my roots are.

What's your favourite app?

WhatsApp because it's really good for contacting people. I probably phone my missus, Sophie, the most. I like Instagram. I kind of just give people an insight to the other side of me on my Instagram so not a lot of sports-related stuff, it's kind of a different side to me, and then my Twitter is more of the sporty side of me. That's how I like to balance it.

Which of your Instagram pics got the biggest reaction?

The one with the Six Nations trophy taken in the Shelbourne Hotel after we came back from the game in Scotland.

Who's the biggest nerd on the Irish rugby squad?

I'd have to say Mike Ross because he's really into his technology and he knows everything there is about Windows and Apple and all that. He's helped me and given me a few pointers here and there.

What's on your travel bucket list?

I'd like to see Bali or Thailand. I've been to the States three times.

What do you think of the Boring Kearney Twitter account?

I think it's funny, but I think it's obviously dying a slow death now. It was funny at the start but I think people have moved past it now, which is good for Rob and Dave.

What's your favourite piece of clothing in your wardrobe?

I'd be a big shopper in Zara in Athlone so probably a couple of jackets and shirts from there.

Would you like to design a range of clothes like Tommy Bowe?

Not at the moment. I'm still learning a bit about fashion, I don't think I'd be into that yet, but maybe down the line.

What's your party piece, or your karaoke choice?

I haven't done a lot of karaoke before, but if I was given a mic and had to sing, I'd probably sing Galway Girl.

What do you sing in the shower?

Titanium by David Guetta.

What's your favourite fruit and veg? Bananas, carrots and parsnips.

Do you have any pets?

I have two dogs and one cat.

What's your biggest talent off the field?

I suppose playing music (the squeezebox). I've played since I was about eight years of age. I'm obviously really busy with rugby at the moment so I need to get back into it a little bit more, to switch off as well.

What's your guilty pleasure?

Popcorn and sweets, and a trip to the cinema.

What's the most expensive thing you've ever bought?

Probably a muscle recovery machine I bought in the UK last year.

What's your idea of perfect happiness?

Good food is really good for making me happy, being around family and good weather as well.

What would be your favourite road trip?

Route 94 in California and I'd probably take a couple of my close mates from Athlone with me.

Which superhero characters do you identify with most?

I don't know if I identify with him but I loved Spiderman as a young kid, probably Superman as well.

Apart from the final, which rugby World Cup game are you looking forward to most?

I have to say the first game in the World Cup because of the nerves. The atmosphere building up and the thoughts about it, with the Round One game there's such excitement and getting out on the pitch and hopefully getting to play in my first World Cup would be a dream come true.

What's your favourite song at the moment?

Michael Calfan's Treasured Soul.

What are you reading at the moment?

I've just finished the Roy Keane autobiography. I'm not sure what I'm going to go on to next.

Do you think Ireland can win this World Cup?

Absolutely, I think we've a really good chance. We need to do what we can for our team, do the best for the players around us and hopefully things will go our way.

What are your personal ambitions for the upcoming rugby season?

I want to keep getting better and keep improving my skills on the pitch. Hopefully mature into an Irish jersey, get to the World Cup and hopefully do really well in that.

How much confidence has Ireland's Six Nations success given the World Cup squad?

It has given us a massive bout of confidence. People are looking at us now and thinking we're up there as number two, number three in the world, so I think we just need to put that behind us and go and hit our next challenge.

What do you love about Athlone?

It's just home. I always come here on my down days from Carton House on a Wednesday and go for a coffee with friends. It's a really nice place to go and switch off, it's where I grew up, it's my home. I'd swim in the Shannon nearly every weekend. I go straight in at the back of the house which is handy. It's a nice spot.

Who is your roomie?

Kieran Marmion has been but it varies with different games. I've been with Ian Madigan before and Conor Murray. It's chopped and changed a good bit.

What have you enjoyed most about being a Three ambassador?

I really liked shooting the #AllitTakes video and doing it with Paul and Johnny was really good craic.

What do you do when you have time off in the Ireland camp?

We play cards, go to the cinema and go out for a coffee. A lot of coffee is drunk in camp.

What's your most treasured possession?

Probably the family home, the house that I've been reared in.

What's your greatest fear?

Not living life to the full. I try to just enjoy myself all the time in whatever I'm doing.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Not sure really. Maybe change my hair style, blonde [lots of laughter].

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