Keith Wood on the noticeable impact the loss of Robbie Henshaw has had on Connacht

Former Ireland captain also talks about the players who have impressed him most in 2016

BY Raf Diallo 20:44 Wednesday 21 December 2016, 20:44 21 Dec 2016

Ireland's Robbie Henshaw ©INPHO/James Crombie

Keith Wood feels Connacht have been missing the presence and skills of Ireland international centre Robbie Henshaw this season. 

As a result, the former Ireland captain feels that puts an added onus on centre Bundee Aki to provide the moments of magic in Connacht's first season since famously winning the 2015-16 Pro 12 crown.

But despite the challenge of losing Henshaw to Leinster before this season, Keith who was on hand to witness Connacht's late European Champions Cup victory over Wasps at the Sportsground last weekend, feels their resilience and continued competitiveness shows there is something "special" about the team and setup. 

"They are suffering a little bit with the loss of Robbie Henshaw, I feel," he said on Off The Ball.

"I feel that there is too much pressure on Bundee Aki to do everything. And in many respects, the chanting up there is all to do with Bundee because he is the one they are hanging their hat on this year.

"And they do suffer a little bit in the forwards, not having some of the depth that they had last year. That balance is not quite the same. So they were suffering for a huge amount of the game and the amount of turnovers they gave away was incredibly surprising - and yet they got the win in the end. So you know that there is something there, something very special there."  

Keith also picked out the Irish players he has enjoyed watching most in 2016 including CJ Stander, Jamie Heaslip and Conor Murray.

He also said that he has enjoyed watching Rob Kearney returning to strong international form, while the younger generation of Irish players also earned praise including Joey Carbery.

Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week