Rugby

"Stick with Robbie Henshaw" - Alan Quinlan calls for Schmidt to have faith

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

10:25 4 Feb 2019


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Written by Iarla Muldoon

48 hours on from Saturday, and the game hasn’t gotten any better. Ireland were poor, it’s no secret. Robbie Henshaw was extremely rusty at full-back and we can’t hide from it.

The Marist man was exposed by Eddie Jones and Owen Farrell. Again and again he was dragged out of position and England capitalised, penetrating the space he naively left either side of him in the back-field channels.

Henshaw made Farrell and Henry Slade look like they were revolutionising rugby. Ronan O’Gara was in awe of their kicking ability on Virgin Media’s coverage: "I think this attacking kicking game is going to revolutionise what happens 40 metres into the goal-line. You can see the skill levels of Farrell, Slade today. They can put the ball where they want to."

It was evident that he was a liability to Ireland in that game, but what does Joe Schmidt do now?

If he scraps Henshaw at full-back now and 10 months down the line, an injury strung Irish squad are without Rob Kearney for the knockout stages, what options will the New Zealander be left with?

Is Henshaw yet again submerged in a ‘sink or swim’ situation like he was on Saturday? If so, that game on Saturday cannot be his last international test match to play at full-back. Alan Quinlan doesn’t think Joe Schmidt has an option.

"Stick with him again," the former Irish international stated on Monday's OTB AM. 

"You’re completely taking away that option forever more if you don’t go with him now.

"You just got to make sure he trains better this week and watches and learns from what went on."

It will be a crucial decision for Joe Schmidt over the coming days and one that could have huge implications on Robbie Henshaw’s future as a full-back in the green jersey.

Especially as it is Scotland who await Ireland this weekend; a team who boast the kicking prowess of Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg and Greig Laidlaw.


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Alan Quinlan England Rugby Irish Rugby Football Union Joe Schmidt Robbie Henshaw Scotland Rugby Six Nations

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