Powerful back-five forward Iain Henderson remains as comfortable at blindside flanker as in the second row, and has admitted he feels ready to challenge for a regular starting berth in Joe Schmidt’s side.
Second row totems Paul O’Connell and Canada’s Jamie Cudmore will go toe-to-toe on Saturday in the latest of a series of gritty conflicts.
Henderson admitted he can still learn from both evergreen locks on how to control the front-five contest at Test level.
Video by Dan Linehan.
“Joe has backed me, put me in the starting squad and that’s a massive confidence booster for me,” said Henderson of boss Schmidt’s faith.
“I can only try to take my opportunity as I’ve tried to take my opportunities in the past.
“Hopefully that would be the grounding of me cementing a place in the starting team.
“Hopefully the ability to control games is coming as I progress.
“The more you play with and against players of that level, hopefully the more you can learn in how to become like them.”
Shaun Cronin, Head Sports Reporter chatting with Irish Examiner Rugby Correspondent Simon Lewis during the Captain’s Run at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Video by Dan Linehan