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Monday 22 April 2019

All or nothing for Henshaw

Robbie's dead leg rarely seen in sport

The Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Summer Camps and new inclusion camps were launched by Leinster Rugby stars Josh Van Der Flier, Rhys Ruddock, Robbie Henshaw and mascot Leo the Lion along with school kids (l-r) Kate Gunne, age 9, Vincent Hoolahan (10), Molly Kearney (8) and Andrew Quinlan (9) at St Mary’s National School, Ranelagh. Visit www.leinsterrugby.ie/camps for information. Photo: Sportsfile
The Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Summer Camps and new inclusion camps were launched by Leinster Rugby stars Josh Van Der Flier, Rhys Ruddock, Robbie Henshaw and mascot Leo the Lion along with school kids (l-r) Kate Gunne, age 9, Vincent Hoolahan (10), Molly Kearney (8) and Andrew Quinlan (9) at St Mary’s National School, Ranelagh. Visit www.leinsterrugby.ie/camps for information. Photo: Sportsfile

It is 'All or Nothing' for Robbie Henshaw, and not just for the way he plays the game.

The Leinster centre and Ireland full-back (at least the last time he played for his country) has been sidelined for longer than he expected with 'a rare dead leg,' for want of a medical description.

He had to cope with the fallout of a one-week issue turning into a two-month mystery.

The failure to properly diagnose was a source of frustration, until Henshaw found out that the same problem had only been seen three or four times in all of sport.

"I am not going to lie. It was a tough one. I'm on the right side of it now," he said.

"It was a collision at training going at top speed. A knee caught me straight on the sweet spot of the quad.

"I had to go to London to find a guy to declare what the story was. Once I had that in my head, it was okay to deal with.

"It wasn't a fright. It was more so for clarity in my mind," he said.

"As a player, you have a dead leg, you should be able to run it off. This wasn't the case.

"It ended up being one of the rarest dead legs in the world."

Henshaw was told how it had only ever been seen in one AFL player, one Ice hockey player and one or two other sports people.

He was able to take a full part in training this week with Leinster ahead of his return either at home to Benetton Treviso on Saturday (KO 7.45, TG4 & Eirsport 1) or the following week at home again to Glasgow Warriors.

During his frustrating recuperation, Henshaw had the time to sit down and take in the New Zealand All Blacks documentary, entitled 'All or Nothing.'

Ireland struggled to deal with the pedestal they had climbed onto for the Six Nations as the second best in the world.

Henshaw found possible answers in the engrossing insight into the All Blacks mindset.

"I think it is just the way teams are coming for us now," he said.

"We're top of Europe, both with Leinster and Ireland, and you need to be able to deal with that, the day to day pressure.

"Every time you take to the field, you're the number one, and teams are going to put out their best performance against you.

"From watching the All Blacks documentary on Amazon, they deal with it every day, that's what they've learned to deal with."

It is one thing to climb the world rankings ladder; another to stay up there for an extended period of time.

"Once you're at the top, it's consistency in being perfect with your performances every time you take the field.

"It's good learnings for Ireland. It's something that's good to be taking into the World Cup. For where we are and where we want to be, we still have work to do.

"To stay there, that's the challenge, and that's something we'll need to look at doing, going into the World Cup and beyond."

It wasn't too long ago when the Westmeath man was in the transfer hot seat like Jack McGrath and he took an understandable stance on the prop's move to Ulster.

"I think ultimately you play for whatever team you play for, but the goal is the green shirt, to get into the Ireland jersey.

"I'm sure that's one of the reasons Jack has chosen to move.

"That's the goal as a player, you want to be playing international rugby for your country."

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