Leo Cullen says Robbie Henshaw can play at 12, 13 or 15 for Leinster

The head coach was delighted with Henshaw's debut performance

Leo Cullen says Robbie Henshaw can play at 12, 13 or 15 for Leinster

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Robbie Henshaw finally made his debut for Leinster on Saturday afternoon.

The Athlone native joined from Connacht at the end of last season, but injury forced him to wait for his first appearance. A shoulder injury against South Africa earlier this summer meant the 23-year-old only took to the field for the first time, against Munster.

In a centre pairing with Garry Ringrose, both players were unlucky not to score tries as Leinster recorded a 25-14 win. Henshaw's pressure from his own kick, led to Jamison Gibson-Park's try in the final ten minutes.

Cullen noted that, in a tightly fought game, having the players who can provide a spark produced a memorable encounter. 

"It was quite a cagey game. I thought it was still intense and both teams were going really hard at the ball. That's the way I always remember these games. There were five tries scored out there today. If you go back through the course of history, when was the last time there were five tries scored in a Munster Leinster game? It's not that often. There are these tight, arm-wrestle type of games." 

"It was great to see him out in blue at long last", Leinster head coach Leo Cullen said of Henshaw. "I thought he looked pretty strong and abrasive in the middle of the field. He's trained hard to get to this point. I was just saying during the week it was hard to believe that he hadn't been off the mark yet in terms of playing games, but it was good to see him get 80 minutes."

Despite starting the game at inside-centre, Henshaw ended the game at full-back, and Cullen said the new signing won't be tied down to any one position, given the ability and versatility he has displayed.

"He's played one game so, I think it depends on what the team needs. We've had these discussions before already. He finished the game at 15. Noel [Reid] is in the centre, Joey's [Carbery] at 10 and Robbie was at 15, so who's to say that won't be a combination that we use as well going forward? Robbie can play at 13 as well." 

The focus now turns to Leinster's back-to-back games against French opposition in the Champions Cup. They play at home to Castres next Saturday, with Cullen saying he felt that the win was perfect preparation for the European campaign.

"It was a good warm up in terms of Munster filling the field, going really hard at the ruck, and being very difficulty to play against. We got probably guilty of getting a little bit tight at times [...] but I thought our 9s and 10s managed the game pretty well."