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Monday 5 December 2016

David Humphreys: Iain Henderson could be best in the world

Ireland's lock Iain Henderson talks to members of the media
Ireland's lock Iain Henderson talks to members of the media

Iain Henderson will be one of the stars of the World Cup, according to his former Ulster boss David Humphreys.

Former Ireland fly-half Humphreys backed Ulster powerhouse lock Henderson to gain world superstar status now he has fought his way into Joe Schmidt's starting line-up.

Gloucester rugby director Humphreys brought Henderson (pictured) through at Ulster, and hailed the 23-year-old's World Cup impact as Ireland have secured their place in the quarter-finals.

"Iain Henderson has the potential to be one of the best players in the world," Humphreys said. "I still remember the first day he turned up at Ulster training, the first day I met him.

"You certainly wouldn't have identified him then at that point as someone who had that ability.

"We knew the physical attributes he had, but there's so much more to becoming a professional rugby player.

"He's one of those players who has come into the professional environment and has thrived.

"He's met every challenge, trains hard, prepares well and the one thing is, does he understand how good he can be?

"I'm delighted to see the way he has progressed, his impact for Ireland over the last two weeks has made him one of the first names on the team-sheet now.

"He has the potential to be one of the stand-out performers at this World Cup, particularly if Ireland are successful."

Humphreys backed Henderson to extend his fine tournament form, now he has become a serious rival to Devin Toner's claims to partner captain Paul O'Connell at lock.

"For some players they take time to take stock of how much they can achieve, but every step up a level for Iain he has performed at his very best," said Humphreys.

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