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Henshaw encouraged by the early signs at Leinster as he slips back into the groove

The Ireland international is hoping to be back to his best form for the November Tests.

Henshaw has settled into life at Leinster pretty well.
Henshaw has settled into life at Leinster pretty well.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

ROBBIE HENSHAW ADMITS he’s pleased with how his first two appearances in the blue of Leinster have gone, but maintains that there is still much room for improvement.

The Ireland international made his much-anticipated debut for the province in the recent interpro victory over Munster and followed that up with another impressive showing against Castres at the weekend.

And with Ireland’s busy November schedule looming, Henshaw, who made the switch from Connacht over the summer, is keen to get as much game time under his belt before Joe Schmidt’s side face the All Blacks next month.

“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 probably like to get as much game time as I can to prove my fitness in the race to get on the plane for Chicago,” he says, when asked whether he’ll be managed before the international fixtures.

“So yeah, I think having more game time under the belt would definitely benefit me and give me a better chance of hopefully getting on that plane.

“I’m happy enough [with how things have gone] but loads to improve on. There’s a bit of rustiness still there in terms of me but it’s just great to be back and have no issues, thank God.

Robbie Henshaw and Jonathan Sexton Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“I think there’s more to come from us as a unit as well, we had a good performance at the weekend but it kind of got scrappy in parts and that was kind of expected. But listen it’s been a good return for me and I’m enjoying being involved in the set-up and just getting the chance to get back out and put together some performances.”

The 23-year-old has formed an encouraging partnership with Garry Ringrose in the Leinster midfield over the last two weeks and the pair have formed an instant understanding.

“It’s going great. Myself and Garry have a good relationship now,” Henshaw explained.

“We’re sitting down and going through bits. We analyse areas where we can do better, get good gains from looking at opposition and strengthen our defence as well. We’ve got two games under our belt. It’s getting better and better.

“The two of us are still learning which is positive, I suppose. We haven’t been challenged massively yet in the backline. I’m learning form him, feeding off him and, I suppose, he’s feeding off me. There’s more to come. You’ll probably see that in the next two weeks.”

Henshaw’s performances have already been singled out for praise by Leo Cullen as he slipped seamlessly back into the groove after a lengthy injury absence.

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Robbie Henshaw with Remi Grosso Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

After partnering the more experienced Bundee Aki in the Connacht midfield over the last few seasons, Henshaw’s role has changed since his arrival at the eastern province.

While he’s clearly settled into his new surroundings well, the Athlone native does admit it has taken him some time to let his voice be heard in a new dressing room.

“I haven’t been that vocal in Leinster because I’ve just been focusing on getting back but yeah, I’m starting to build it up a little bit more now,” he explained.

avhenshaw Robbie Henshaw and Sophie Spence launched the Aviva National Mini Rugby Festival yesterday.

“A little bit more vocal on the pitch now and try and help the lads out as best as I can. Defence is one of my strongest parts of game. In defence particular, I’m looking to get off the line and lead by putting in big hits I suppose as well.

“It’s funny being one of the older mature guys in the backline and still being 23. It’s great, it’s a change for me and my rugby and I’m looking forward to good times ahead.”

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Ryan Bailey

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