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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 16 May 2021

Schmidt hopeful Henshaw's hamstring injury will heal before Romania

The 22-year-old was ruled out of Saturday’s clash with Canada.

JOE SCHMIDT SAYS he is quietly confident Robbie Henshaw will be fit to play Romania in London on Sunday, 27 September, after the Connacht man was ruled out of this weekend’s World Cup clash with Canada.

The 22-year-old suffered a hamstring strain at the end of Ireland’s training session at Carton House on Tuesday.

IrelandÕs Robbie Henshaw

The injury is not expected to keep Henshaw out for more than a week, however, with Schmidt saying that he “would like to think” that the centre will face Romania.

“Robbie right at the end of training on Tuesday felt his hamstring tighten a little bit,” said Schmidt at Ireland’s team hotel in Cardiff this afternoon.

We got it scanned, there’s a little bit of blood there. He’s ok to walk and jog around, but he does feel that tightness when he’s accelerating and therefore it would be a real risk to push him ahead. We’d be quietly confident that he should be ok by next Sunday.”

Luke Fitzgerald is the man to benefit from Henshaw’s absence, starting in the 12 shirt for Ireland alongside Jared Payne.

The Leinster man has played at inside centre for province and country before, and Schmidt has no doubt Fitzgerald will perform there against the Canadians. Still, Darren Cave will count himself unlucky to miss out on selection.

It’s ironic, because this time four years ago he was starting at 12 for Leinster,” said Schmidt of Fitzgerald.

“He’s had a fair bit of game time, for me, at 12 and we’ve got a lot of confidence in him playing 12 or 13. Obviously he’s already played 13 for us in the pre-World Cup Test matches and we felt that he did pretty well there and has earned himself another opportunity.”

Joe Schmidt with Luke Fitzgerald Schmidt speaks with Fitzgerald at Ireland training. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Scrum-half Conor Murray is excited to see Fitzgerald lining out as part of Ireland’s backline for the tournament opener, pointing out that he will bring his own strengths to the inside centre role.

“Yeah he definitely can,” said Murray when asked if Fitzgerald can shine at 12. “He can play in a number of different positions and he’ll bring his own style of game to the table as well.

He can slot into our formation seamlessly, so he’s a flair player, a very exciting player and I’m looking forward to playing with him.

“He’s played an awful lot with Johnny, and Lukey is a playmaker as well, so that will be another string to our bow come Saturday.”

This article was updated at 18.10 to include the quotes from Conor Murray and correct the date of the Romania game.

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