Henshaw gets help from O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll is pulling out all the stops to mentor Robbie Henshaw through his bid to claim Ireland's vacant 13 shirt.
Former British and Irish Lions captain O'Driscoll anointed Connacht battering ram Henshaw as his great successor on his retirement at the end of last season.
Henshaw held firm at outside centre as Ireland edged out Australia 26-23 in Dublin on Saturday to complete their first autumn Test series clean sweep in eight years.
The 21-year-old midfielder then revealed Ireland's record caps holder O'Driscoll is doubling as a personal analysis coach to help him realise his rich potential.
"Brian and I stay in contact by text and a couple of phone-calls here and there," said Henshaw.
"He gives me a couple of things to work on, he has a look and studies my games.
"He is really helping me a lot and I have a lot of respect for him. He hasn't been in camp, but he has been on the phone.
"He has been studying the matches, having a look at them himself, giving me things to work on and telling me what I'm doing well.
"I made sure to ask for him to keep helping me after last season. I kind of said to him 'don't leave me now!' I said 'give me a dig-out when you go and help me to improve'."
Ireland boss Joe Schmidt is yet to reveal his hand on exactly who will prove O'Driscoll's long-term replacement, and Henshaw may ultimately wind up at inside centre.
Gordon D'Arcy's absence from the 29-15 victory over South Africa led Schmidt to pair direct outside-centre rivals Henshaw and Jared Payne in midfield.
Henshaw's physical presence helped Ireland subdue the Springboks, while Payne's foot sprain ushered fit-again D'Arcy back into action for Saturday's Australia battle.
Schmidt can keep his midfield cards shielded until the Six Nations then, with Henshaw simply happy to be featuring.
"I'm trying to grow into it now and keep improving," said Henshaw.
"I'll keep the head down and work away down in Connacht, staying in touch with Joe (Schmidt) and Brian (O'Driscoll) to try to improve my game.
"No doubt Mils Muliaina will give me a hand at the club as well, as he played a little bit of 13.
"I'll have a nice team around me so I'll just try to keep improving.
"There are a lot of serious contenders so nothing's settled: Darren Cave had a good game for Ulster at the weekend and Jared Payne, as you saw against South Africa, he was amazing there as well.
"There is serious competition, which will only make me want to improve even more."