Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby World Cup

Henry striving to be a cut above amid fierce rivalry for places

By Nick Purewal

Published 26/09/2015

Wound: Chris Henry shows the damage from World Cup duty
Wound: Chris Henry shows the damage from World Cup duty

Chris Henry has backed his main Ireland rival Sean O'Brien to mix it with the very best openside flankers at the World Cup.

Australia boast two natural No.7s, David Pocock and Michael Hooper working in devastating tandem so far, while England captain Chris Robshaw has long been lambasted as lacking a scavenger's instinct.

Ulster's breakdown specialist Henry will make his first World Cup start against Romania at Wembley tomorrow, desperate to state his case for further inclusion in Ireland's Pool D campaign.

Henry is keen to challenge the established back-row unit of Peter O'Mahony, Jamie Heaslip and O'Brien in Joe Schmidt's side -but also threw his weight behind Leinster wrecking ball O'Brien when it comes to openside play.

"People say Sean O'Brien isn't a natural openside but Seany can play everywhere," said Henry.

"I've seen Seany, in that Scotland game in the Six Nations, absolutely bully the breakdown, he made four turnovers in that game.

"So when people say he's not a natural seven I think it's just because he's capable of doing everything. I don't know what the answer is in terms of opensides, but I think every team is going to be different.

"It works very well for Australia, but for me all I can do is hopefully make sure Joe sees what I can bring.

"The back-row in Ireland is ridiculously competitive, with Tommy O'Donnell and Rhys Ruddock being out injured, and you still have Jordi Murphy and everyone else.

"It's fierce. I just hope that every time I take the field I can add something and that Joe's happy with me. Any time I get a green shirt I love it. It would be great to put in a big performance."

Ireland have made 12 changes from the side that thumped Canada 50-7 to open the World Cup for their second clash with Romania.

Tommy Bowe slots back in on the wing - in the process becoming the only survivor from the last Ireland side to face Romania, in a 43-12 victory in Dublin in 2005.

Ulster team-mate Henry admitted he would give 31-year-old Bowe some light-hearted ribbing for unwittingly ending up the old man of Ireland's piece.

"I didn't know that about Tommy and it's great, it just shows how old he is," joked Henry.

"And we can give him plenty of stick for that. Tommy's the kind of person who gets really excited to start. It was disappointing for him to miss out against Canada, and this is now a great chance for him.

"I don't know if Tommy will remember that game 10 years ago, but I'll make sure that I give him a bit of craic and remind him of how old he actually is."

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph