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'I'm still contracted with Connacht' - Henshaw denies Leinster transfer rumour

The 21-year-old Ireland centre admits recent transfer talk has been ‘a small’ bit annoying for him.

Henshaw started Ireland's wins over South Africa and Australia last month.
Henshaw started Ireland's wins over South Africa and Australia last month.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

ROBBIE HENSHAW SAYS he doesn’t know where the speculation linking him with a move from Connacht to Leinster at the end of the current season has come from.

The 21-year-old Ireland international is contracted to the western province until 2016, but rumours in recent weeks have suggested that Henshaw may make a switch to join Matt O’Connor’s Leinster squad in the summer of 2015.

However, speaking in Armagh this morning at the formal launch of Ireland’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Henshaw poured cold water on the gossip.

“It’s all speculation,” said Henshaw. “I haven’t mentioned a word about it in the last few weeks. I’m still contracted with Connacht for another year, so I don’t know why people are bringing that up.

“It’s all speculation, as I said, and I’m still with Connacht for the year.”

Asked if the recent talk about a potential move east was an annoyance, Henshaw confirmed that it was unwelcome. The powerful Connacht man says he is simply doing his best to avoid the distraction.

It’s a small bit, a small bit [annoying],” said Henshaw at the Royal School, “but I just try to keep my head down, and don’t say anything about it. It’s other people talking, so I’m not doing any talking.”

In terms of the IRFU’s campaign to bring the World Cup to Ireland in 2023, Henshaw was understandably enthusiastic, pointing out that he will be 30 by the time that tournament rolls around.

More immediately, Henshaw is focused on the 2015 World Cup in England, to which Joe Schmidt’s Ireland will travel with some confidence after wins over Australia and South Africa last month.

“There’s a massive opportunity to go and put a marker down and get to at least a semi-final,” said Henshaw.

“I think we’re well capable of doing it, as we’ve shown in the last few weeks. We were well able to compete with the Southern Hemisphere teams, which gives us a chance to get there and hopefully compete.”

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Murray Kinsella

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