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Robbie Henshaw thankful to be...
Rugby

Robbie Henshaw thankful to be back ahead of New Zealand challenge

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

11:05 17 Oct 2019

Irish centre Robbie Henshaw will make his second 2019 Rugby World Cup appearance this weekend as he lines out in the starting 15 to take on New Zealand. 

The Athlone native suffered a hamstring injury in training in Japan on the eve of the tournament, meaning he missed the opening two games.

Other players in the squad may have been replaced in similar injury situations but Joe Schmidt felt Henshaw was worth the wait.

Speaking to reporters following the announcement of the team to face New Zealand, the 26-year-old discussed his joy and relief to be back;

"It was a tough start for me personally but I'm thankful to the medics and staff that helped me turn it around.

"To be back for one game before the quarters was good, against a tough physical Samoan side."

Henshaw; who played for just over an hour in that final Pool A game against Samoa, before being replaced by Andrew Conway, is relishing the occasion that Saturday's quarter-final will be.

"It's a huge challenge for us.

"Every fan will be really geared up for this; we are as players.

"It's an incredible tournament to play in, to be playing potentially the best team in the world is an added bonus.

"It's going to be a huge occasion, we know we'll need our supporters in full voice with us in the stadium.

"We know they'll be there for us so really looking forward to it now, it's going to be good."

Henshaw has also been discussing the relationship and rivalry between Ireland and New Zealand and how Ireland's recent wins have changed it's dynamics.

"It was a special day [Ireland's win in Soldier Field], a really good time, it's quite a while ago now.

"I suppose for us, we built on that and we had a great performance against New Zealand last November as well at home.

"I suppose that was a key stepping stone into how this team has progressed over the last few years.

"It's a tight group, the boys are unbelievably close and everyone has worked hard over the last few years, it's definitely given us a lot of confidence dating back to that day."

Henshaw has responded too to suggestions that some players may have sleepless nights as they prepare to face the reigning champions.

"The first couple of weeks out here were tough with the jet lag and stuff.

"I suppose there will be a few players who can be a bit nervy and stuff, and can, not have sleepless nights but can wake up a bit.

"The work we've put in during the week allows us to build confidence going into this weekend.

"It's a great challenge and we're in a great position to be here and just really looking forward to it.

"This chance only comes around once every four years, we're going to embrace it and enjoy it."

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