‘It’s special. There’s no other feeling like playing in a World Cup for your country’

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DUBLIN MAY BE home now, and Leinster his province, but Robbie Henshaw will always receive a warm welcome around these parts. The Sportsground and Connacht have played huge parts in his life and rugby career.

“It’s good to be back,” the Athlone man smiles, following Ireland’s squad workout yesterday morning. “Great training, great weather and a great week here, so a nice bit of work done this week and great to see some old faces and old friends here.”

Robbie Henshaw
Robbie Henshaw at Connacht’s Sportsground yesterday.


Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Henshaw’s face stood out more than most, given one Connacht supporter came prepared and brought a giant cut-out of both the centre and Jack Carty to leave no doubt as to who remains the fans’ favourites out west.

It may only be four years since Henshaw left Connacht as a Pro12 winner, but indeed a lot has changed here, and the same can be said about the 26-year-old as a player. Now with 37 international caps, he is gearing up for his second World Cup.

“I think the growth in the region has taken a big step forward, and even the growth here in the club — the changing rooms are completely different, the gym, there’s a lot of different things that have happened since I was here four years ago,” he says looking around.

“It’s great to see them [Connacht] taking big steps forward and growing as a region.”

As for the session, there was no hiding place for Henshaw and the players as they were made to work up a sweat to conclude their third week of World Cup preparations, with the onus on incorporating rugby drills into strength and conditioning circuits.

It all made for an intense 60-minute hitout for the squad as the clock continues to tick down towards Japan and that first game against Scotland on 22 September. While that is what they’re ultimately building for, Ireland have narrowed the focus considerably.

“We were worked hard today, i

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