Big hitter Henshaw admits kick to set up try was 'spur-of-the-moment thing'

Connacht and Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw has said he loved the physical aspect of Ireland's game against South Africa today.

Henshaw was with Ireland debutant Jared Payne in a new-look centre partnership for Joe Schmidt's Ireland side that took on the Springboks, who only last month defeated the All Blacks.

The 21-year-old battering ram was initially daunted by the physicality of the challenge.

Asked about the physicality of the game, the Connacht centre said: "It was a massive step up, I don't think I've hit bigger fellas in my life.

"I was quite shocked by the size of them, but I think I got used to it after a few hits."

Henshaw had to face South Africa skipper Jean de Villiers, conceding 99 caps in the process, but he said he was prepared for it.

He said: "You just have to focus on your role and responsibilities in the team.

"I came off the bench against Australia last year and it was quite a shock to the system with the speed of the game and how physical they were and I really didn't let it slip this year.

"Coming into November, I was going to be ready for a start or to come off the bench, I just got myself really together mentally and prepared myself well."

He admitted that he relished today's physical challenges.

"The physicality is a big part of the game and I like that aspect as well. I love a big hit."

The Connacht man went on to say that his kick that set up the line-out for Rhys Ruddock's try was done on the spur of the moment.

He said: "I just gave Jonny a call, I said 'Jonny just hit me wide', and it was a spur-of-the-moment thing, I was going to run initially and I saw there was a little bit of space in behind and so I kicked through it and put my head down and got through and got the bounce."

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