Shadow play: Henderson's day


"It must have been cold there in my shadow," sang Bette Midler in Wind Beneath My Wings. Rob Henderson could empathise with that sentiment. Playing alongside Brian O'Driscoll in the centre is not a high profile occupation.

Not that Henderson is complaining. The Wasps centre smiles when quizzed about their partnership. "I have come on in the last two games and started this one. I enjoy playing with him. I think we play quite well together," he laughed. While O'Driscoll deservedly collected the verbal bouquets for his three-try performance, it would be churlish not to ignore Henderson's contribution. His strength, angles of running and vision as exemplified by the third try provide a perfect foil for his young compatriot. It is a selection decision for which the management should be credited.

Henderson prefers to deflect the limelight, giving praise elsewhere in describing his role in O'Driscoll's second try. "Rog ( Ronan O'Gara) timed the pass very well and I just cut a good line. Obviously if you are going to pop it up to anyone why not let it be Brian, just let him canter in. I thought he showed great pace for his third try. He dashed around Emile Ntamack. Mind you I don't quite know what this square thing is."

Nor does anyone else as O'Driscoll refused to divulge the reason behind his try celebrations, saying only that his friends back home would know. Henderson not only struggled to understand the gesture but also capture the enormity of Ireland's victory. "Unbelievable, unbelievable, something that we have been looking at for the last three years. We were unlucky last year, unlucky the year before, this year a bit of luck went our way."

He conceded that the opening 20 minutes had been frightening. "It was just a case of us finding the pace of the game. France threw everything at us in that first 20 minutes. We thought that if we stand up, be strong, play our game and not revert to type, keep the ball in hand, then things would happen for us and they did."

"I think it helps when you have got a bit of youth and enthusiasm inside and outside," the 27-year-old replied tongue in cheek.