Lam hails ‘world class’ Henshaw

“He does not look out of place and he is just going to get better and better.”

Robbie Henshaw and Paul O'Connell at the Ireland Rugby Open Training Session in The Sportsground, Galway today. Picture: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

By Daniel Pitcher

Connacht head coach Pat Lam says he has been hugely impressed with Robbie Henshaw’s transition into an international rugby player.

Both Lam and Ireland coach Joe Schmidt teamed up today as the Ireland squad trained with the Connacht squad at the Galway Sportsground during an open session for fans.

Henshaw has done well for Ireland in the two games he has started at centre against France and Italy in the RBS Six Nations.

“I’m extremely proud, he just looks so comfortable out there and looking really world class.” Lam said.

“The thing that’s impressed me from when I first saw him is his mind set and never taking a backwards step, particularly defensively, he just loves putting his body on the line and trying to destroy people.

“He just does not look out of place and he is just going to get better and better.”

One of the big reasons that Henshaw is in the spotlight so much is the fact that he started out in Connacht as an 18-year-old with former coach Eric Elwood and the more games he played for Connacht, the more comfortable he became in the environment.

Henshaw has had roughly 60 games with the province and has nearly walked into the Irish set-up. Lam says that Henshaw is a prime example of the work that goes into bringing players right from grassroots to green jersey.

“He’s the number one guy, he’s been through all of that and part of our thing about grassroots to green shirts is about promoting the game in the community.

“Look at the amount of young kids that were there today and families, wearing Ireland and Connacht jerseys, it’s just really pleasing.”

Speculation this week once again linked the young Ireland international with a move away from the province once his deal ends at the Sportsground.

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Lam was refusing to be drawn on the fresh speculation.

“It’s funny, the stories were going one way and it’s come back around to what we have been saying all along – Nothing has changed for us," he insisted.

“He’s signed until next year and he’s happy to be here and we just carry on, everyone will write stories but ultimately, nothing has changed for us."

Having only won 1 game in the last five, Connacht are in Guinness Pro12 action on Sunday when they travel to the Dragons who slayed Leinster at the RDS last weekend.

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