WATCH: Chris Henry hoping to ‘keep the emotions on track’ ahead of biggest game ever

By Stephen Barry and Shaun Cronin

A World Cup quarter-final takes on career-defining influence in any player’s life, but particularly so when you’re representing a country that has been unsuccessful on all five previous attempts at that stage.

Chris Henry wasn’t involved in any of those previous attempts but still finds it difficult to treat this quarter-final as just another game, given the rarity of such occasions.

“It's a huge opportunity,” begins the back-rower when asked about his sudden return to a starting role.

“The back-row is always a tough place to get a slot and myself and Jordi Murphy have been chomping at the bit to get playing.

“It's obviously the biggest game of my career and it's hard to keep the emotions on track because of the magnitude of it. But we just want to get out there and do the best we can.

“This squad of players has been building for the last two years and boys who got their chances before have done well. So now it's just for the players to step up to the plate.”

Joe Schmidt watches Chris Henry during today's press conference. Photo: Brendan Moran/ Sportsfile
Joe Schmidt watches Chris Henry during today's press conference. Photo: Brendan Moran/ Sportsfile

Still, they won’t allow themselves to be burdened by the past in their attempt to ‘make history’.

Plus the team’s familiarity with big occasions in the Millennium Stadium will only be a help.

“The biggest motivating factor is the support we have had,” adds Henry. “Last week's game was incredible in terms of the atmosphere and I don't think any of us have experienced anything like it.

“No doubt on Sunday the fans will be just as loud, if not louder, even though it is a one o'clock kick-off.

“We just hope we do ourselves justice and get stuck in and make history. Everyone is focused and has prepared really well. Now, it's about going out there and having no regrets when we come off the field.”

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