Henshaw: Leinster working harder than ever for success

As he looks towards the future, eyeing success with Leinster, Robbie Henshaw also pays plenty of mind to those that came before him.

The 24-year-old Ireland and British & Irish Lions star, who won the Guinness PRO12 title with Connacht before moving to the RDS Arena, helped Leo Cullen’s side to two semi-finals last term, in both the league and the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Henshaw had a host of legends to look up to as a youngster, both from Ireland and Leinster; players that lit a spark in him and helped inspire the Leinster ace to become the explosive centre he is today.

He said: “Irish greats, Leinster greats; [Brian] O’Driscoll, [Ronan] O’Gara, [Paul] O’Connell. I have always looked up to them.

“I always admired Gordon D’Arcy for his work, and there have been a few guys around in the blue jersey, but, for me, Gordon D’Arcy was great.

“His time on the ball in general stood out. When he was playing, he was a calm player and you should admire those types of players.

“He always had time on the ball. He was always calm and he made the right decisions.”

Having helped Connacht win their first-ever major trophy, Henshaw is hungry for success with Leinster.

He savours playing in the famous blue of the Dublin outfit and believes the quality of players coming through the academy can only help as they prepare to challenge for silverware in the new campaign.

“It’s unbelievable to represent such a high quality, hard-working club,” said Henshaw.

“It’s hard-working, driven and passionate, and it is an honest team. It is great to be involved in such a quality side, and to be in a team with such high-quality individuals in a high-quality set-up.

“Each player knows that the expectation is high in Leinster and we are expected to succeed.

“We drive ourselves day-in, day-out, to succeed like we are expected to. We put in the hard work, and the results follow.

“There are a lot of guys on the up.

“I think Rory O’Loughlin, James Ryan; there are so many. I can’t list them all.

“Like last year, with Joey Carbery and Garry Ringrose, who had good seasons, I think Adam Byrne will have a good season.

“It is positive that we have young players coming up, playing well, and getting that experience. We will have a good pre-season and we will be ready to go.”

Looking back on the trials and tribulations of the 2016-17 season, which saw Leinster bested by eventual champions Scarlets in the semi-finals, he added: “I think it was a very good season for us.

“In the end, we were unlucky in a few areas, and didn’t get over the line in a couple of those games.

“It is a learning curve for a lot of us. We have a young squad – a few guys are in there for the first time this year and they did incredibly well .

“I think we will be better again as a team. We will be closer as a unit. We go in to this season wanting to go one better, but one step at a time – we can’t get ahead of ourselves.

“We need to get the work done, which is being done well.

“We are working hard in pre-season, building ourselves up for the season. We start with the pre-season games; it’s just one-step-at-a-time building.”


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