Joe Schmidt On Playing Robbie Henshaw At Fullback For Ireland

Fifteen.

Head coach Joe Schmidt says he “wouldn’t have too much hesitation” slotting Robbie Henshaw in at fullback for Ireland if needs be.

Henshaw hasn’t played a lot at fifteen in recent years, but does have a lot of minutes under his belt there while playing for Connacht. He most recently slotted in at 15 for Leinster a couple of weeks ago when Rob Kearney got injured.

A lot of fans reckon Henshaw has a lot of the attributes to be a huge weapon at fullback, and it appears Schmidt agrees. But at the same time he reckons Henshaw would need a little time playing there before he decided to throw him straight in.

“I think he’s great in the positions he’s played for us, both at 12 and at 13.” Schmidt said.

“I wouldn’t have too much hesitation putting him back at 15. He’s got a lot of the attributes. It would be a very ad-hoc preparation for him to slot in at 15 on the back of a fairly short, late change, playing away to Treviso for Leinster.”

“I think the last few years he hasn’t really had a lot of game time there. And I think you think a little bit of time to recalibrate.”

“Is there anyone more capable thank recalibrating? Probably not too many. He’s a smart player and he’s committed to his preparation thoroughly enough that he probably would adjust pretty well.”

The Ireland boss says they’ve been aware of Henshaw’s ability to play at fullback for quite some time, and always thought of it as an option but Ireland. But he did stress that it’s not their “first option”.

“It is something that has been in the back of our minds for a long time as an option if we needed to go there.” Schmidt added

“The one thing I would say though is – it probably isn’t our first option. And it’s not something we’re gonna necessarily gonna default to.”