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'We don't think we'll see Robbie Henshaw for the rest of the season'

Connacht coach Eric Elwood confirmed that the fullback’s hand injury should see him miss the province’s final two games.

Robbie Henshaw has enjoyed a stellar breakthrough year.
Robbie Henshaw has enjoyed a stellar breakthrough year.
Image: ©INPHO/Russell Cheyne

NOT MANY CONNACHT supporters would have expected Robbie Henshaw to play 23 times for them this season but they will see no more of him until 2013/14.

The 19-year-old, who made his Connacht debut against Cardiff Blues last September, will watch the province’s final two games from the sidelines after sustaining a hand injury late last week.

The fullback was named in the starting XV to face Ulster, on Friday, but was replaced an hour before kick-off by Fetu’u Vainikolo after dislocating his thumb the night before in training.

Elwood told TheScore.ie, “He’s going to see a specialist. I don’t think we’ll see Robbie for the rest of the season. He’ll see a specialist in two weeks time again and he’ll be assessed again.

“At the moment, it’s not looking good for us.”

Elwood switched Gavin Duffy from the wing to the fullback position and argued that while the loss of Henshaw was “disruptive” it was certainly not a chief reason for his team’s defeat. “We pride ourselves on the strength of our squad,” he said. “Those things do happen, unfortunately enough.”

Henshaw scored his first try in Connacht colours away to Edinburgh last weekend. He was called into Ireland’s extended squad for this year’s Six Nations and started for the Wolfhounds against England Saxons in late January.

With Rob Kearney expected to travel with the British & Irish Lions this summer and Simon Zebo, who filled in at fullback for Ireland last November and December, an outside bet, Henshaw will be hoping to recover in time to make the Ireland squad to take on the US Eagles and Canada in June.

Speaking about Henshaw this year, Ireland’s interim head coach Les Kiss said, “We’ve been really excited about his development. He had to step into the breach when Connacht lost Gavin Duffy and he was playing 13 earlier in the year. When he had to put his hand up for that, he’s done an exceptional job.”

Connacht play Benetton Treviso away this weekend and Glasgow Warriors at home on 3 May. If results go in their favour they could finish as high as seventh.

- Additional reporting by Aaron Turner of Connacht Clan.

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