Centre Garry Ringrose has hailed midfield partner Robbie Henshaw as a pivotal part of Ireland’s improved form, following their closely-fought Round 4 win over Scotland at BT Murrayfield.
Henshaw’s first try of the 2021 Championship helped inspire the 2018 Grand Slam champions to their second successive victory, 27-24, after they ended a two-match losing run by beating Italy in Round 3.
Ever-present Leinster colleagues Ringrose and Henshaw retained their spots in Andy Farrell’s XV after opening defeats against Wales and France, despite facing stiff competition from fellow centres such as Connacht’s Bundee Aki.
And Ringrose reckons Henshaw – who has contributed the second-highest number of carries in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations so far (53) – has proved himself to be virtually undroppable with a string of impressive displays.
“Sometimes when you are playing with him it’s like having an extra centre out there with some of the work he gets through,” said Ringrose, who opened his Championship try-scoring account in Rome in late February.
“I consider myself lucky to play alongside him with the quality he brings on and off the pitch.
“He’s been unbelievable during the games, but it really doesn’t happen by accident with how hard he trains and prepares.”
While Ireland survived a late Scotland surge in Edinburgh – with a Johnny Sexton penalty sealing the points at the death – winger James Lowe once again failed to cross the whitewash for the men in green, on his fourth consecutive Guinness Six Nations start.
But Ringrose, 26, has backed his fellow Leinster man to find his finest form ahead of their Championship-concluding clash at home to England, having seen him shine regularly on domestic duty.
He added: “I’ve been on the pitch with him in massive games for club and country, and I would 100 per cent back him to deliver when it matters, and he does.
“I’ve seen him do things no one else does in big games, and I think both he and the team can continue to keep building and growing.”