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22nd Nov 2014

Robbie Henshaw reveals words of advice from Brian O’Driscoll after Wallabies win

The young outside centre joked 'Don't leave me now' after the Irish talisman retired in March

Patrick McCarry

The 21-year-old was part of an Irish backline that shone against Australia

Robbie Henshaw has laid down a serious marker for Ireland’s No.13 jersey ahead of next year’s Six Nations and World Cup. The Athlone native starred at outside centre in the 26-23 triumph over Australia before revealing he has been in constant touch with his predecessor, Brian O’Driscoll.

Henshaw says, ‘Myself and Brian stay in contact by text and a couple of phone-calls here and there. He gives me a couple of things to work on. He has a look and studies my games. He is really helping me a lot and I have a lot of respect for him.’

He adds, ‘Brian hasn’t been in camp. He has just been on the phone. He has been studying the matches, having a look at them himself, giving me things to work on and telling me what I’m doing well…. I made sure. I kind of said to him ‘Don’t leave me now. Give me a dig-out when you go and help me to improve’.’

Robbie Henshaw and Peter O'Mahony celebrate 22/11/2014

‘I’m trying to grow into it now and keep improving,’ Henshaw comments. ‘I’ll keep the head down and work away down in Connacht, staying in touch with Joe and Brian and try to improve my game. No doubt Mils Muliaina will give me a hand as well as he played a little bit of 13. I’ll have a nice team around me. I’ll just try to keep improving…. I don’t know; there a lot of serious contenders. Darren Cave had a good game last night for Ulster and Jared Payne, as you saw against South Africa, was amazing as well. There is serious competition, which will only make me want to improve even more.

Henshaw is expecting Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to ‘have a few cuts off us’ in a video review when the group meet up again in late December. He describes the final 10 minutes, as Ireland hung on to a narrow lead, as really tortuous. ‘My lungs were burning a lot but to see Ian Madigan and Tommy Bowe get the turnover at the end was such a relief.

‘I knew what Australia had done to last year. That gave me a wake-up call on where I needed to be and how I had to prepare myself. It was a tough day at the office but it was good to see us get through.’

The Connacht back, who earned his fifth cap in the Wallabies win, was pleased with a contribution that included heavy tackles, offloads, line0-breaks and clever, tactical kicking. ‘It was a bit different in the No.13 shirt, being one out, but it was good to have Gordon D’Arcy beside me to offer his experience,’ he says. ‘He stayed in my ear all night and gave me that confidence to get over the line and make tackles.’

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