Robbie Henshaw: 'Making the team is huge, but you need to go out and back it up and perform'

Four years on from taking an early plane home from New Zealand as his Lions Test bid was ended by a pectoral muscle injury, Henshaw has finally reached the pinnacle
Robbie Henshaw: 'Making the team is huge, but you need to go out and back it up and perform'

Bundee Aki, left, Conor Murray, Robbie Henshaw and Tom Curry during the Lions Captain's Run at Cape Town Stadium. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile

Robbie Henshaw has plenty to look back on with pride about the way he forced himself into this evening’s British & Irish Lions Test team but the Irish centre knows only a strong performance in Cape Town today will count.

Four years on from taking an early plane home from New Zealand as his Lions Test bid was ended by a pectoral muscle injury, Henshaw has finally reached the pinnacle for a rugby player from Ireland or Great Britain. His performances for Leinster and Ireland this season were outstanding and though he was sidelined by a hamstring strain until last Saturday, there was always the feeling that Warren Gatland had long pencilled Henshaw into his Test midfield. Now he has to vindicate his head coach’s faith against the Springboks at Cape Town Stadium.

“Absolutely, that’s the big thing. Making the team is huge, but you need to go out and back it up and perform,” Henshaw said yesterday.

“There’s huge pressure and expectation on us to get the win. For us to get things right, we’ve worked well in training during the week and got the preparation done. It’s about being mentally and emotionally ready for what’s to come.

“Everyone is going to be really excited for the challenge ahead.”

Henshaw added: “We are massively ready. We’ve done a lot of contact work, we’ve had a lot of games now to date against tough opposition and big men down here.

“They’ll be well up for it, there will be huge intensity to the game.”

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