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BOD tips Henshaw to take over the mantle as French test looms

Thursday, 13th March, 2014 5:15pm

BOD tips Henshaw to take over the mantle as French test looms

Robbie Henshaw seen here in action for the Ireland Wolfhouds against the England Saxons. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie.


By Kieran Galvin

The Ireland rugby team is bidding to win this year's Six Nations title in Saturday's showdown against France in Paris.

And the fact that it will be the great Brian O'Driscoll's last game for Ireland has provided additional significance to what is already a huge fixture.

Speaking ahead of the eagerly-awaited clash with France, O'Driscoll has tipped Athlone's Robbie Henshaw as a key figure in filling his boots.

Henshaw has impressed for Connacht over the past couple of years and the 20-year-old from Coosan has three Ireland caps to his name

"Robbie is a very, very talented young lad, who is a great listener, a really good young talent, and a really good lad too," said O'Driscoll of Henshaw.

"I think he has all the attributes to be a seasoned campaigner for Ireland for many, many years," continued the Irish rugby legend.

New Zealand-born Jared Payne of Ulster will be eligible to play for Ireland in November, and O'Driscoll believes he can prove a valuable addition to the Irish set-up.

"Then you have the beauty of guys who have played there before in Luke Fitzgerald, and someone like Jared Payne who qualifies in November.

"As (No.) 13s, absolutely Robbie and Darren Cave are well placed; we’ve an abundance of talent coming through," O'Driscoll added.

O'Driscoll and Leinster team-mate Gordon D'Arcy will form a centre partnership for a record 56 times this weekend and, in the coming years, Joe Schmidt will be looking at players to fill the void in the middle of the Irish backline.

If Ireland defeat France on Saturday, they will almost certainly win the Six Nations title on scoring difference. In the event of an Ireland win over France, the only way Schmidt's can be denied is if England defeat Italy by a cricket score earlier in the day.


Six Nations Fixtures (Saturday March 15)

Italy v England, 12.30pm

Wales v Scotland, 2.45pm

France v Ireland, 5pm


IRELAND Team & Replacements v France (RBS 6 Nations Championship, Stade de France, Saturday, March 15, kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time):



15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 53
14. Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 54
13. Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) 132
12. Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 78
11. Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 6
10. Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92) 42
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 26
1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 46
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 74
3. Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster) 38
4. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 14
5. Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster) (capt.) 91
6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 22
7. Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster) 13
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) 64


16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster) 34
17. Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster) 7
18. Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster) 4
19. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 9
20. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 2
21. Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster) 53
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster) 7
23. Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 25


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