Years of sweat, sacrifice and reinvention go into Henry's overnight success at Ravenhill
“I think Declan (Kidney), without a doubt, couldn’t have been more supportive of me. He said: ‘Look, if you want to come, come; if you don’t I completely understand’. He said if I wanted my own room I could have it, which I didn’t take. I roomed with Eoin Reddan, which was great.
“I didn’t want to be by myself, and then he also had my mum flown out for that Test, as a surprise. I never expected that. To have her there was really special.
“Ach, I think that game just flew by. Was I totally ready for my first cap? No, but it was probably the best thing for me. My dad would have given anything to watch me, but unfortunately that can be life sometimes. You look at what happened with Nevin (Spence) this year and I suppose that puts it in perspective as well.”
Last month, Henry spent only one night of the Test window at home: “It was the most fun month of rugby ever, I think. I’ve never enjoyed being part of something more. I felt, with injuries to certain people, it was an opportunity for others to step up and to feel a real part of the team.”
He was particularly nervous for his first home Test, against South Africa, and his disappointment was all the more acute because “I felt we had them and couldn’t do it. But to finish off in the way we did with Argentina was so important and when everyone comes back in the new year I hope we built on what we have, and something special can be done. And I don’t see why not.”
But more immediate is Ulster. He preaches caution. Things are going well but they’ve won nothing yet: “And until you win something it doesn’t really matter. We haven’t achieved anything yet, and there’s a long, long way to go and I think as long as we don’t get complacent and keep that mentality, we can keep ourselves up there.
“You have to have a bit of luck with injuries and you have to have boys perform at the right times of the year. There are so many aspects, but we certainly are in a great place.”
Like Chris Henry himself.