Ireland need to be calmer and more clinical in the second Test, stresses Robbie Henshaw


This is new territory for some players in the Ireland squad, but not for Robbie Henshaw, who has trodden this path before. 1-0 down in a series, back against the wall. Win or go broke.

Our years ago, Ireland lost the first Test in Australia before making a stunning comeback to win the next two and win the series 2-1.

Something similar is needed this week if Ireland are to have anything other than pride in the third Test in Wellington.

Henshaw played every minute of the series against the Wallabies in 2018 and having gained that experience, the Ireland center is hoping his side can repeat the trick against the All Blacks.

“It’s a very similar message we’re sending this week compared to then; We just have to go out there, do our best and really go for it,” said Henshaw.

“Of course we have to clean up a few little things about the set piece and be more precise and clinical and try to take chances like we had last Saturday. Then it’s a different game, a different score.

“Those little things, those mental mistakes that we had in the first half when they scored three points in a row in a short space of time.

“It would have been a different game in the second half if we had been cleaner there if we hadn’t given them easy access. It’s all to play. It’s really about trying this week and everyone stepping up.”

The Ireland squad held a candid meeting yesterday where a few home truths were told and errors dissected in the video room. “We gave little details, just talked about that soft try, the turnover try where Beauden Barrett kicked in behind us for the 12 (Quinn Tupaea); that’s not us,” Henshaw insisted.

“We just don’t want to get out like that. That was one of them.

“Then there were just a few clips, just our line-up in defense and how we let them have a quick ball and then sometimes when we got it right, pointing out how it looked and how we can apply pressure. So it was good for fix-up clips.

“We know it won’t be perfect. We know these guys are top notch players, some of the best in the world and they will have their good patches in the game and we just have to accept that. We do our best.”

Another major topic of conversation in the team briefing was why Ireland collapsed in that second quarter, essentially ending the competition.

“I think the most important thing was that we just had to stay calm and not be too rushed or feel like you’re chasing it,” Henshaw mused.

“To be honest we got that wrong because we weren’t calm. We don’t leave our 22 clean. We get turned around, Beauden Barrett puts the ball through and it’s another try.

“We didn’t act on those words and we had the conversation this week that we need to be calmer and clinical to get out of our own half because if you look at them, they’re not playing their own half much.”

Ireland played too much at times, particularly when Johnny Sexton left injured. Henshaw (29) knows if his side make the same sloppy mistakes in Dunedin on Saturday, their chances of overturning the first Test will quickly vanish.

“We want to go out and play rugby and we want to be a brave team that wants to fire a shot. That’s the balance,” Henshaw added.

“We want to play our style of rugby, which worked against these guys and in the Six Nations in November if we did it right.

“It’s great to play and great to watch, making sure our leaders and our guys who call the shots on the pitch, that we’re doing it, that we’re doing it right.

“It’s just that we build our game; Much of this depends on decision-making. It’s again about seeing how the situation is, what the position of the game is. Do we slow it down and stick them in a corner? It’s all a decision-making process.” Ireland need to be calmer and more clinical in the second Test, stresses Robbie Henshaw

Fry Electronics Team

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