Henshaw gives Ireland fitness boost

Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw has confirmed that he’s fully fit ahead of Sunday’s crunch clash with England at Twickenham.

Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw has confirmed that he’s fully fit ahead of Sunday’s crunch clash with England at Twickenham.

Henshaw was forced off with a head injury after 45-minutes of Ireland’s convincing victory over Wales in Round Two of the Guinness Six Nations.

However he has come through the return to play protocols and is in contention to start against England.

“Yeah I’m fully recovered,” Henshaw said as his team seek revenge for last season’s 32-20 defeat in Dublin.

“I passed all the protocols. It was really frustrating to come off, but the doctors have a job to do and if they see something, they have to be cautious and take player safety into account.”

Garry Ringrose’s broken finger gave Henshaw his opportunity at outside centre against Wales, but the 26-year-old Leinster back was himself forced off after a collision with Dan Biggar.

However, his absence made little difference to an Ireland team who went on to win 24-14 against Wayne Pivac’s new-look Wales team.

He added: “It was disappointing not to get back on, but you have to go with it. I was enjoying myself and it was great to be back in the Aviva, in a great atmosphere. It wasn’t ideal for me, but the team did an excellent job finishing it off.”

Ireland are preparing to return to the scene of their 2018 Grand Slam and can also clinch the Triple Crown with victory at Twickenham after winning both of their two opening games under new coach Andy Farrell. Henshaw insists, however, that a significant challenge awaits them.

“We’re aware of the challenge going to Twickenham, it is a hostile environment,” said the centre.

“But we went there two years ago with our backs to the wall and a Grand Slam on the line so we know we can produce big performances.”

Despite victory two years ago and England’s loss to France in Round One, Henshaw is keen to avoid complacency in the Ireland camp.

He said: “Winning a Triple Crown is not at the forefront of our minds, it is about focusing on our performance. Twickenham is a cauldron, they are tough opposition and a tough crowd.

“We’re under no illusions that it is a tough place to play. It’s down to us to play as well as we can. Our defence will have to be rock solid, that’s our focus today and then we will work on our attack.”

Ireland have been boosted by the return of No.8 Caelan Doris, who was forced off after only four minutes of his Test debut against Scotland two weeks ago, and Henshaw is confident that there is sufficient quality in the squad to compete with Eddie Jones’ intense England team.

He added: “Across the group, we know we have big players who can produce big moments. Jordan Larmour is one who can do that as he showed against Wales. But it’s up to all of us to try and produce those big moments.”