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Happy Henshaw hoping to propel Leinster right to the top

 

By David Kelly

Is this really what Robbie Henshaw left Connacht for?

He remains without a trophy and, on a muddy field in Devon last Sunday night, the man who donned a blue jumper to play ball watched on as his pack of forwards proceeded to stick the ball up theirs.

And keep it there.

Instead of remaining with Ireland's most recent trophy-winning team - a collective who played the sort of rugby that didn't force you to glue your eyes together - the centre had made the decision to up sticks and leave.

For this! And yet he loved every deuced moment of it. Apart from the occasional chill of standing still. He solved that conundrum though. Befitting the eve's theme, he joined in as Leinster beat Exeter 18-8.

"Well, we got the win, didn't we?" Henshaw asserts.

"I got stuck into the mix of it myself a few times. I was getting a bit cold in the outer channels so I rolled up my sleeves and helped the forwards a bit.

"It was a real battle. We had to put down a statement, lay down a marker. By doing that, we had to play how they play in their 22 and defend how they defend in our 22. So that was obviously in the tighter channels and going hard at it."

And so Sunday's stunning series of statements contributed to a worthy body of evidence; Leinster are now leading contenders to conquer Europe.

A season after being found out by others, they have had to find out more about themselves.

"We did what we had to do to secure victory and that's what we will have to do this season. We need to be more ruthless. We look at last year where we came up short and we are going to ensure that doesn't happen again so we can go a step further.

"Definitely on the weekend it was up the jumper stuff and we needed to do that."

Tomorrow, Exeter may come to play, but Leinster can play too. And if it is another arm-wrestle, Leinster won't mind a whit if they win 3-0 in a dour scrap.

"Certainly this week it will be a different approach from Exeter," he said. "They're coming to play, they will have a chip on their shoulder. They're coming to try to turn around a result. We need to be ready and prepare the best that we can. We just need to do a little of our things better.

"In the huddle, we were obviously delighted with the win. But we said we needed to back it up straight away. It's going to be one hell of a game, especially in the packed out Aviva.

"There's no better place to play in this country. So we're blessed whoever gets the nod. It's about us backing up what we did last week. We're in a great position."

Is this really what Robbie Henshaw left Connacht for? You bet it is.

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