Henshaw won’t be forced to switch provinces says Schmidt

Robbie Henshaw: “Robbie makes his own decisions and if his playing services are contracted somewhere, that’s where they’re contracted,” said Ireland coach Joe Schmidt. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Robbie Henshaw: “Robbie makes his own decisions and if his playing services are contracted somewhere, that’s where they’re contracted,” said Ireland coach Joe Schmidt. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Tue, Apr 22, 2014, 01:00

Joe Schmidt has ruled out the possibility of forcing Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw into moving provinces mid-contract for the benefit of the Ireland national team.

Henshaw signed a three-year deal with Connacht earlier this season, but recent comments from IRFU president Pat Fitzgerald suggested Henshaw could be forced to move from his home province if Schmidt insisted on it.

However, after Connacht Rugby and the new IRFU performance director David Nucifora last week moved to deny Henshaw was going anywhere, Schmidt has also distanced himself from the claims.

“You know, Robbie makes his own decisions and if his playing services are contracted somewhere, that’s where they’re contracted,” said Schmidt.

“I think there can never be a totally linear progression because there’s going to be the odd dip and there’s going to be the odd time where he runs into a bit of a wall and he has to work his way through it.

“But he’s worked his way through a heck of a lot of things really positively so far,” said the Ireland coach.

Schmidt was at the Sportsground in Galway on Saturday night to run his eye over Henshaw and the rest of his Ireland-qualified players in action for the home team and Munster and admitted he continues to be impressed with the 20-year-old’s talents.

“I thought he played really well tonight. You know, he did some great defensive work. He was unlucky when Gerhard van den Heever pilfered that offload but he ripped a great ball to save a try so he kind of got that one back.

“He was very strong in the air. His passing game was very good and he was always a threat carrying the ball and he’s also a great young kid. He’s an intelligent player,” he said.

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