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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Centre Robbie Henshaw leads Ireland's new generation

Robbie Henshaw
Robbie Henshaw

Oh, the fearlessness of youth.

Robbie Henshaw came of age on the international stage on the evening Paul O'Connell's Ireland career surely came to an end.

"There is definitely more in us. We can go one step further," said the centre.

Henshaw reflected on a glorious night when Ireland destroyed France to come within 80 minutes of their first ever World Cup semi-final.

"It was an immense result," he said.

"Even when we were down with numbers, key leaders had to go off, the boys came on and put their hands up and just took over.

"When Iain Henderson came in he was incredible. Likewise, Ian Madigan played unbelievable. That's what we want from our full collective."

Just when Wales look cursed by the losses they are suffering at the World Cup, Ireland now rival their Celtic cousins for carnage.

It would take a major miracle for O'Connell to play one more minute of international rugby, given the clear and obvious severity of his hamstring tear.

The legendary lock's imminent retirement should be confirmed today or tomorrow on a note of great sadness and at a time of great possibility.

The simple fact that out-half Jonathan Sexton and flanker Peter O'Mahony accepted they were not able to carry on bodes badly, very badly, for the quarter-final against an impressive Argentina next Sunday.

Coach Joe Schmidt will be absolutely appalled at Sean O'Brien's arm into the midriff of second row Pascal Pape with very little provocation.

The likelihood looms that the openside will be cited and have to face the probability of suspension which would further hamper Ireland's ambition to go where they have never gone before in the World Cup.

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