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Rugby World Cup: After playing waiting game, Henshaw is promising more fireworks

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

A hamstring strain he picked up in the last training session before flying out for Wales two weeks ago means Robbie Henshaw has had to wait for his chance to shine on a world stage.

He has kicked his heels for two weeks, slowly running more and gaining confidence that the muscle will hold up.

Ireland have looked good at this World Cup, but tomorrow's game represents another step up in class and the tasks are only going to get tougher as the weeks go on.

Like most of his team-mates, Henshaw isn't prone to grand statements about winning the competition, but beneath the week-to-week mantra is a quiet belief drawn from twin Six Nations triumphs.

"Absolutely, we have massive faith in each other because the key leaders and role models we have in the team," said the Connacht man. "The likes of your O'Connells, Sextons, Murrays, O'Mahonys, Heaslips, Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney; massive leaders throughout the team.

"We're not the biggest physically, but when we do play at our best we're up there with the best in the world so if we play to our strengths I think we'll do really well. We just need to gel and hopefully we'll be alright with injuries, play to our strengths and things will go well for us.

"To have a guy inside me like Johnny Sexton and a guy outside me like Jared Payne, they're seriously talented footballers and they're really good in your ear. Their voice, giving that bit of confidence or telling you what you can work on after training; I'm learning all the time. To have a voice like Pauly's in defence is unbelievable. The young guys are learning from these guys every day." Perhaps missing the opening games will draw the focus away from the big man in the inside centre channel, but it's unlikely.

This is his second full season in the big leagues and he is expecting attention.

"I suppose a lot of teams will have looked at footage of our games and will know that some of our set-piece strikes will involve me hitting it up at first phase," he explains.

"I can expect to be marked up at first phase if I've to carry it up. I've to be that guy who has to be extra strong on his feet, to present good ball and give the team good go-forward ball, while also being used as a distributor as well."

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