Robbie Henshaw puts personal ambitions to one side with selfless post-match comments 5 months ago

Robbie Henshaw puts personal ambitions to one side with selfless post-match comments

"I'm delighted to be there supporting him."

Robbie Henshaw believes Ireland need to 'have balls to go for it' against South Africa, this weekend. He will be itching to get involved, but he may have to bide his time.

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Following his 2023 World Cup debut, in the win over Tonga, Henshaw selflessly put personal ambition to one side as he lavished praise on the men keeping him on the replacements bench.

Robbie Henshaw Bundee Aki, Stuart McCloskey and Tadhg Furlong during Ireland rugby squad training at The Campus in Quinta da Lago, Portugal. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile)
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Not many changes expected for Ireland team

Bundee Aki has stacked up some incredible statistics in the opening two games of the World Cup, with Ireland. He has scored four tries, has a try assist, made 270 metres off 39 carries, made nine line breaks and beat 13 defenders.

Garry Ringrose, who has started beside him at outside centre, has three try assists and was seething with himself after missing a gimme chance against Tonga, in an otherwise excellent performance.

"Huge respect for Tonga," said Aki, after the match. "They came out firing. We knew it was going to be a physical match. I know a lot of these boys, I’ve played with them and against them and I expected nothing less from them. Hopefully they go out in the next couple of weeks and put everything out there. All the best to them."

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Henshaw replaced Ringrose with 30 minutes to play and will be happy with the shift he put in, as Ireland teed themselves up for a gargantuan clash with the Springboks.

"Delighted to turn it around and play this week," Henshaw reflected. "Feeling fresh. The last two World Cups I've had to miss the first two games due to hamstring issues, so it's kind of like, 'Not again'. But thankfully I'm in good hands with the physios and the medical team and they eased my worries and I was back training fully during the week."

Asked about the sensational form of Aki, Henshaw selflessly lavished his old Connacht teammate with praise, and highlighted the form of Ringrose. He will be stung that that hamstring issue prevented him from getting a started in the opening games, missing a chance to press for inclusion against South Africa, but the team clearly comes first. He said:

"Bundee is flying, he's absolutely flying, playing class stuff. I'm delighted to be there supporting him. Himself and Ringer (Gary Ringrose) are going really well."

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As for Saturday's date with the reigning world champions, in Paris, Henshaw said, "It's just about knowing what they are going to bring.

"Their power game is massive up front and then they have some exciting backs, new guys who are lighting it up on the edges.

"But what we learned in November (playing South Africa) was to expect anything from their defence. They come hard off the line and they leave two or three players out on the edge and close you off from the inside. We have to be accurate and we have to have balls to go for it and play."

Ireland are in a fortunate position that Robbie Henshaw, a two-time British & Irish Lion, will be one of the men expected to be in reserve for those final stages.

This game is going to be brutal, it should be tight and it will most likely go to the wire.

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