Robbie Henshaw: The Mole’s Irish player of the tournament and a serious international at this stage of his career. Henshaw rarely looks flustered and relishes physicality. For years, Connacht had no representation on the Irish team but investment in the traditional Cinderella province of Irish rugby has always made sense as it provides another opportunity for professional players to compete. Continue reading
Henshaw’s performances in the 2015 Six Nations were extremely impressive for a young player making his first appearance in the tournament.
Making breaks and beating defenders is tough in the No12 jersey – there’s no room. In those regards, Henshaw had a cracking Six Nations, easily outperforming any of his northern hemisphere contemporaries.
Over the course of the 5 games in the Six Nations, Henshaw was credited by ESPN with 4 clean breaks [2 vs Scotland, 1 vs England, 1 vs Italy] and 16 defenders beaten [2 vs Scotland, 3 vs Wales, 6 vs England, 2 vs France and 3 vs Italy]. That gives an average of 0.8 CB/game and 3.2 DB/game.
Jamie Roberts started all five games for Wales and is credited with 1 clean break and 6 defenders beaten [average: 0.2CB/game and 1.2DB/game]; Luther Burrell started all five for England and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 3 defenders beaten [0.4 CB/game and 0.6 DB/game -and those figures point towards why he didn’t make the English RWC squad]. No other No12 started more than three matches in the championship.
Masi [Italy] played in three games and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 4 defenders beaten [0.7 CB/game and 1.3 DB/game]; Fofana [France] played in three and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 6 defenders beaten [0.7 CB/game and 2 DB/game]; and Dunbar [Scotland] started 3 and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 2 defenders beaten [0.7 CB/game and 0.7 DB/game].
He massively outperformed both in totals and averages all his contemporaries in those key attacking categories, and was first rate defensively in a successful Six Nations defence. He was an unqualified success with an extremely strong claim to have been the best No12 in the tournament.