Monday 11 December 2017

Robbie Henshaw on Paul O'Connell: 'He's just the ultimate leader and the ultimate captain'

Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw (c)
Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw (c)

Ireland bosses will battle to convince captain Paul O'Connell to delay his retirement and commit to another year of Test rugby, according to Robbie Henshaw.

Talisman skipper O'Connell drove Ireland to retain their RBS 6 Nations title, claiming the first try in his side's 40-10 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Ireland sneaked to the title on points-difference, after England failed to produce a 26-point victory over France, retaining the trophy for the first time since 1949.

Evergreen lock O'Connell is weighing up retiring from Test rugby after the autumn World Cup, which would leave securing back-to-back titles as his Six Nations swansong.

Connacht centre Henshaw hailed O'Connell as the "ultimate leader", and tipped the 35-year-old to come under pressure to sign up for one more year of Test action.

"He led and everyone else followed," said Henshaw of O'Connell.

"He's just an unbelievable leader.

"I think the charisma oozes out of him, he's an unbelievable player, and to be doing what he's doing at the back-end of his career is unreal.

"I think he's just an inspirational guy. I would say that people will try to convince him into another year, yeah.

"I can imagine next year he'd be asked to stay on.

"All in all he's just the ultimate leader and the ultimate captain."

O'Connell became Ireland's oldest try scorer of all time by crossing the whitewash in Scotland, consigning the hosts to the Wooden Spoon.

Joe Schmidt's side had to watch on nervously as England saw off France 55-35 at Twickenham, falling six points short of the margin required to take the title.

Munster talisman O'Connell is yet to decide on his future after admitting he may retire from international rugby after the autumn World Cup.

The 101-cap Ireland lock's first Test try in nine years set Schmidt's men en route to retaining their title, with Seán O'Brien grabbing a brace and Jared Payne also crossing.


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