WATCH: Iain Henderson ‘comfortable’ with role beside captain Paul O’Connell

WATCH: Iain Henderson ‘comfortable’ with role beside captain Paul O’Connell

By Grainne McGuinness and Shaun Cronin

Describing fellow Ireland lock Iain Henderson, Paul O’Connell said if he was "anymore laid-back (he)'d be lying down”.

The second row certainly fulfilled that description this afternoon after the Captain's Run, appearing unfazed by the prospect of starting alongside O’Connell in Ireland’s opening game of the Rugby World Cup.

Iain Henderson pictured today at the Captain's Run at the Millennium Statium in Cardiff.

Henderson was asked how much of an understanding there could be between them, given that O’Connell is more used to partnering Devin Toner on international duty.

“Obviously we’ve only played a few games together,” he agreed. “But I’ve come off the bench with him a good couple of times in the Six Nations.

The Ulster player believes their understanding has come on a long way in recent weeks, and can continue to develop throughout the tournament.

“We’ve spent the last ten weeks or so training together in camp, in various games and in various areas of the country,” he said.

“Like Joe (Schmidt) says, I think everything can constantly be improved on, and I do feel comfortable in there with him, but I’m sure I’ll feel more comfortable as the World Cup goes on.”

Video by Dan Linehan

Henderson was asked if he spent much time with Ireland’s iconic captain off the pitch.

“We’re in quite a tight environment, so I think everyone spends a good bit of time with everyone,” he answered. “We’ve had a good few dinners together and stuff.”

The 23-year-old also expressed his gratitude to head coach Schmidt for his place in the Ireland squad.

“It was Declan Kidney backed me initially,” he said. “However that was with Mike McCarthy and Donnacha Ryan, even Devin (Toner) wasn’t getting a look-in there.

“Joe came along and revamped the team a little and thankfully he’s kept me on-board and kept me training and kept the targets in sight.”

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

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