Robbie Henshaw out for six weeks with hand injury
Ireland centre fractured bone in final moments of Connacht’s win over Munster
Jack Carty and Robbie Henshaw celebrate in Thomond Park after Connacht beat Munster. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Connacht have suffered a major blow with the news that Robbie Henshaw will be out of action for up to six weeks with a fractured hand.
Having started at fullback in only his second Pro12 game this season, Henshaw suffered the metacarpal fracture in the last couple of minutes of Connacht’s first win over Munster in Thomond Park in 29 years.
The Ireland centre had played a big part in Bundee Aki’s decisive try that resulted in Connacht’s 18-12 victory and it was when he contested the restart that the injury occurred.
“The kick-off went to Robbie. He went up in the air and there was a collision and when he came down, you can see on the video that he is holding his hand.
“We finished the last play, and straight away after the game we could see it was blown up,” said Lam.
The Ireland centre was expected to undergo surgery in Dublin yesterday, ruling him out of action for the festive interprovincials with Ulster and Leinster, and the back-to-back European games with Newcastle.
It is another blow to Connacht as they head to Cardiff looking for only their second win in Arms Park in 12 seasons in a bid to maintain their pole position in the Guinness Pro12.
Henshaw’s loss has been exacerbated by injuries to number eight Eoghan Masterson and prop Denis Buckley.
Masterson, having also suffered a hand injury with a thumb fracture, and Buckley, with a high ankle sprain, are both expected to be sidelined for three weeks, while openside flanker Nepia Fox-Matamua’s injury has been confirmed as an ACL, ruling him out for the season.
However, in welcoming the return of Rodney Ah You, who was in New Zealand following the death of his father, as well as Quinn Roux (nose surgery), and the trio of Eoin McKeon, Ben Marshall, and Dave McSharry, all of whom have been cleared after concussion, Lam says it has always been about the squad, not the individual.
“For us, losing any player is tough, and we have had a pretty hard run of injuries, but what we have been doing is around team work, and the next guy just steps in.
“We have now had eight wins in a row, and the way we look at it is that Robbie has played three of those games, so we haven’t had the same 15 throughout the whole season. Probably, if I put what is on paper the best 15, we have never been able to put that out. And that is why what we do on and off the field is crucial.”
The win against Munster could not have come at a better time for Connacht as they head into a tough part of the season, with five of the next seven games away from home, starting with Cardiff on Friday evening where they have won only once since the formation of the new franchise in Wales.
“We have a lot of confidence in the fact that we went down there to a Munster team and they were gunning for us. It was top-of-the-table [game] and a lot of physicality was talked up before by both teams. Ultimately we came away with a good win based on what we do as a team.
“To win, it was special for guys like Ronan Loughney, John Muldoon, local boys who have been here for a while, and that is one they can tick off, and then we move on. When I was first here I was asked, ‘how are you going to get consistency?’ I think, now eight games on the trot, it’s about being consistent every day in what we do.”