Connacht coach Lam adamant Henshaw won’t be lured away to Leinster

RABO DIRECT PRO12:

Henshaw signed a new deal before Christmas extending his Connacht contract until then, but this week IRFU president Pat Fitzgerald said the Athlone native would have to move to another province if Joe Schmidt insisted.

That has increased speculation Leinster may be lining up a move for the talented back Brian O’Driscoll has tipped to be his most likely successor in the Irish No 13 shirt.

Ironically, when the IRFU president was making his remarks on local radio on Wednesday, the national team management were in Galway meeting with Lam and members of his coaching staff.

Schmidt, along with Les Kiss and John Plumtree, were paying a routine visit to Connacht and Lam said that a possible move by Henshaw was not on the agenda.

“There has been no communication from the IRFU around Robbie Henshaw. The IRFU have been very supportive of Connacht,” said Lam.

Lam has secured most of his squad for next season when he hopes to build on the progress made this year. His assistant, Dan McFarland, will take charge of the Emerging Ireland squad travelling to Romania in June and Lam is hopeful several Connacht players will either be on that tour or in Argentina with the seniors.

“I have good lines of communication with Joe and we talk regularly on games and players. The visit this week by the national management was their third, there are good lines of communication and there has been nothing suggested about Robbie Henshaw going elsewhere,” added Lam.

Meanwhile, Ireland wing Tommy Bowe moves into the midfield as Ulster make 10 changes to the side beaten by Saracens last week to face Connacht in a Pro12 derby at Ravenhill this evening (7.05pm kick-off).

Bowe is joined in the centre by Luke Marshall, who will be making his 50th appearance for the province. Andrew Trimble is selected after coming through concussion protocols.

ULSTER: R Andrew, A Trimble, T Bowe, L Marshall, C Gilroy, P Jackson, P Marshall; A Warwick, R Herring, R Lutton, J Muller, capt, I Henderson, R Diack, C Henry, N Williams. Replacements: N Annett, T Court, A Macklin, L Stevenson, S Doyle, M Heaney, J McKinney, S McCloskey.

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