Planet Rugby

Schmidt may sanction Henshaw move

10th April 2014 08:52

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Prospect: Robbie Henshaw

IRFU president Pat Fitzgerald has indicated that Robbie Henshaw may leave Connacht for a bigger club, if Joe Schmidt so wishes.

Henshaw is viewed as one of the potential successors for Ireland to Brian O'Driscoll, with the most capped Test player of all time having played his last game for Ireland with the win in Paris in the Six Nations.

The 20-year-old has played at full-back and centre for Connacht, but Schmidt may want to see him move to one of the other Irish provinces should Connacht not qualify for the new version of the Heineken Cup next season.

When Fitzgerald was asked if he could guarantee that Henshaw wouldn't move to one of Ulster, Leinster or Munster, he couldn't do so - despite Henshaw recently signing a new contract until 2016. He has already won three caps for Ireland.

"That's a difficult one, I don't have the answer," Fitzgerald told local radio in Shannon on Wednesday.

"All I can say is that if the national coach feels that Robbie Henshaw would be better playing in another province, then the green team I'm afraid has to come first."

Fitzgerald added that Connacht were due to receive greater financial backing from the IRFU ahead of next season.

"We are just about to announce a new chief executive for Connacht, and as of yesterday the IRFU have agreed to continue to fund Connacht and fund Connacht at a greater level than ever before," added Fitzgerald.

"So from anybody that is thinking about rugby that is living west of the Shannon the future is looking very bright for Connacht.

"I have no doubt that with the new Heineken Cup, or whatever it is going to be called, that Connacht will be there or thereabouts and with the investment that the IRFU is going to put into Connacht they are just going to get stronger.

"I have no doubt that the Irish provinces can continue to be successful and one of the reasons I say that is that the academies in the provinces now are really beginning to bear fruit and what we never had in the past, we now have a conveyor-belt where young people are becoming provincial players a lot younger."

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