15 seconds that sum up the cut and tenacity of Robbie Henshaw's Six Nations campaign
All throughout this Six Nations campaign, there's been a fire blazing in Robbie Henshaw's stomach.
With a cut about his tackling, a zip in his ball-carrying and a fearlessness in his fielding, he's looked like a man who had a point to prove about his point to prove. It was in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday when the fire became a wildfire as the Westmeath man ripped into the English like he'd been told Joe Dolan wasn't a good singer.
It's easy to glaze over it now with the win so comprehensive for a finish but there was a time in that first half, 3-0 up until the 17th minute, when the English were moving well and looking dangerous. Danger that, more often than not, turned out to be nothing more than a false alarm because of Henshaw's aggression and his intensity of aggression. The man was quite literally everywhere.
"He seemed to be everywhere in defence and attack. When Ireland were under pressure in the first 15 minutes, he was the guy who stepped up and led the charge," said Ireland international Eimear Considine on the House of Rugby.
If there was one passage of play that epitomised Henshaw's desire, it came in the 20th minute of the game when swapping one wing for another, Henshaw nailed Jonny May and then Ollie Lawrence in 15 dynamite seconds. With May posing a threat, Henshaw takes him out and then as the play levels out, you can see him tearing across to the other side of the pitch where he eventually bests Lawrence.
Watch the clip from 56:40 to 57:03 below to see Henshaw at his barnstorming best.
Henshaw's former Ireland teammate Fergus McFadden feels that the Athlone man must now be in pole position on Warren Gatland's Lions team.
"His performance on Saturday was just incredible really," said McFadden.
"The reality is that when England went 3-0 up in the first ten minutes, and had another chance for a try (It was dangerous.) They launched off a line-out and Robbie hit George Ford out the back, a really good read, it just shut it down. It was at a stage there when if they broke the gain-line, Ireland were in trouble because they could have been 10-0 down. He just had so many of those game-changing moments. He was outstanding in the air too, just as he has been throughout the Six Nations..."
"For the Lions tour, he has to be in the driving seat to be in the centre for the test. Saturday showed that whether it's 12 or 13, he's such a good player, such a good reader. Just take George Forde throwing that pass into touch, he was spooked at that stage..."
Ian Madigan agreed that it was Henshaw's menacing presence that had Ford and many of the English backs second guessing themselves.
"He looked like the defensive leader in the backs. Ireland had England rattled then, with their hard-rushing line or sometimes setting off. He doesn't know whether they were coming or going. We were dictating it. It looked like just a poor pass, but the reality is it was because there was so much going on in his head then. He was like 'is that guy shooting for me, is he not?'"
Hugo Keenan was just as complimentary of his teammate's performance, claiming that Henshaw has it all.
"He's an animal, isn't he? He was unbelievable today and he's been a stand-out performer for the whole campaign, in fairness to him. He keeps stepping up, game after game, and delivering. He can do it all, to be honest. He's got that whole, rounded game. He's a great footballer and he's a big powerful guy, and he brings that to his defence as well. Ah, it's been unbelievable to see him go so well. He's someone that's I've gotten a lot closer to since making my debut, so it was enjoyable seeing him play so well."
It was certainly a good campaign for the 27-year-old.