Robbie Henshaw gives copy-book response when asked about Lions Tour
"No, no! You want to be a Lion. Don't give me that!"
Just like his dogged, inspirational performance against Exeter Chiefs, Robbie Henshaw was giving nothing away.
The Leinster centre had another one of his big, big games as he marshalled his backline through an epic Champions Cup battle at Sandy Park. Henshaw has been putting in a string of outstanding midfield performances since rugby resumed, last August, and he was on it from the get-go against Exeter.
Although he only made five carries in attack, he and Rory O'Loughlin combined for 26 tackles in the Leinster midfield. Henshaw also came up with a big turnover in a first half that was ding-dong stuff.
Leinster won out 34-22 against the 2020 European champions, on their home patch, and before the game was even over, he was being talked up by co-commentators Brian O'Driscoll and Sam Warburton.
Asked if Henshaw was a shoo-in for a starting Test role with the British & Irish Lions, O'Driscoll said:
"On current form, yes, because he can play 12 and 13. And it's reassuring that you can fit someone alongside him, like George North, Owen Farrell or Jonathan Davies, and know he can do a job... He is the form centre in Europe, along with Gael Fickou."
Henshaw himself was asked about making his second Lions squad, by BT Sport, after the game. Having been part of the 2017 Tour to New Zealand, the Athlone native will be itching to make that squad and press for the Test Series in South Africa.
That will be his thinking, you can be assured, but he was much more diplomatic in his post-match interview:
"Listen, I'm just happy to be playing rugby, and be injury free... I'm enjoying my rugby! In these circumstances, it's great for us.
"We've missed the fans. We want them back, so hopefully they'll be back sooner rather than later and we can enjoy that."
"That's up there with the toughest game we've played all year, it was international standard."
Is Robbie Henshaw destined for #LionsRugby? He's keeping his cards close to his chest...#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/CfMz089FTr
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 10, 2021
Handled like a pro.
One hopes he can stay injury-free, like he said, as he has nothing to worry about where form is concerned.