Sean O'Brien praises "unbelievable" Robbie Henshaw after his winning return
"He was unbelievable."
Following Ireland's 53-7 win over Argentina, head coach Andy Farrell was asked a question about Robbie Henshaw, who had played superbly for 65 minutes in his first game of the season.
"He was preparing like everyone else," Farrell said, "just to be ready if called and it's no surprise to us that Robbie just gets on and starts his season, that's the warm-up game for Robbie, isn't it?"
Peter O'Mahony, sitting beside Farrell, smiled and shook his head at the warm-up remark. Coming up against a tough Argentina side in a Test match in your first game of the season. Not a bother to Henshaw.
"It just shows the professionalism of the man to come into a Test match like that," Farrell added.
"Before the start of the game, we knew how he prepared for how we expected the game to go - physical warfare, that's how they play the game. Robbie was just himself all week, he epitomised what we're trying to be as a team."
The Leinster centre was always going to start his 2021/22 season a bit late, after taking part in the Lions Tour to South Africa, but a foot injury meant he got no game-time before the Test window. He had to sit back and watch Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose thrive, but he sent a reminder to us all that he will be pressing hard for a starting role in the Six Nations.
On the latest House of Rugby episode [LISTEN from 3:40 below], hosts Seán O'Brien and Alex Goode reflected on the Autumn Nations Series and raved over the effortless return of Robbie Henshaw.
Seán O'Brien praises "unbelievable" Robbie Henshaw
Looking back on the Autumn Nations Series, Seán O'Brien was nothing but impressed with Ireland's haul of three wins from three, and their attacking, ambitious performances.
He praised Caelan Doris and Tadhg Furlong, among others, for their November outings and was blown away by Robbie Henshaw hitting the ground running upon his return.
"Robbie Henshaw was unbelievable again," O'Brien declared. "For someone that hasn't played in a while, to come back in with no minutes behind him and do so well was great.
"I liked Craig Casey when he came on. He's nippy, he's fast and he gets everything moving again... It's usually exciting for Ireland right now."
Asked to rate Ireland's November performances out of 10, O'Brien gave him a healthy but hyperbole-lacking 8. "They left a few tries out there against the All Blacks, and a couple against Argentina," he reasoned, "and they won't be happy with some of their defensive stuff, although it has been brilliant, at times.
"So, I think they can improve and they will improve. They would very much want to, going into this Six Nations, and would want to - and have to - if they want to mix it with England and France."