Robbie Henshaw: Seven things to know about the Leinster, Ireland and British & Irish Lions centre

Jared Wright

Leinster centre Robbie Henshaw is set to return to the Test arena with Ireland this week when they face Scotland in the Six Nations.

Ahead of his return to international rugby, Planet Rugby has compiled seven things to know about the world-class centre.

Early life

Born in Athlone on 12 June 1993, Henshaw attended Marist College.

Henshaw showed early promise as he was part of the Buccaneers U19 team that won the Connacht League and Cup as well as the All Ireland League. 

He captained his school to their first Connacht Senior Schools Cup in 35 years.

His talents extended past the rugby pitch as he also played Gaelic football for the Westmeath minor team in 2010 and 2011.

Henshaw became the first player from Marist College or an Athlone-based school to represent the Irish Schools team when he earned his first cap against Scotland in 2011. 


While being a versatile player on the pitch, Henshaw shone in the classroom too and has a geography and economics degree from University College Dublin.

He comes from a sporting family with a history in GAA as his uncle David Henshaw played rugby for Buccaneers and Connacht.

Coming from a musical family, Henshaw is a talented musician and enjoys playing the fiddle, guitar and piano.

His musical talents earned him the nicknames “One Man Band” and “Old Man Bob Henshaw”.

Early professional career

Henshaw quickly made his mark at professional level, making his debut for Connacht in late 2012, just a year after finishing school.

However, 2013 would prove to be a breakout year for the Athlone man who featured for the Irish Wolfhounds and U20s and made his Ireland Test debut all in the same year.

He was included in Ireland’s Six Nations training squad in early 2013 but would have to wait until June to make his Test bow. He started on debut against the USA in the Test in Houston, only four days before turning 20.

Test regular and Connacht success

By 2015, Henshaw had cemented himself as a regular starter for province and country.

He started all five of Ireland’s 2015 Six Nations fixtures scoring his first try for his country in the 19-9 victory over England. Ireland went on to win the tournament that year, and Henshaw secured a place in the World Cup squad.

He started at centre in three matches at the 2015 World Cup, including the quarter-final defeat to Argentina.

He combined with Bundee Aki in the centres for Connacht, creating a formidable midfield partnership that went on to win the team’s first-ever major trophy. They defeated Leinster 20-10 in 2016 PRO12 final to claim the title.

Leinster, Ireland and Lions

British and Irish Lions Robbie Henshaw after the tour match at the FMG Stadium, Hamilton leinster ireland connacht British & Irish Lions

Henshaw moved to Leinster ahead of the 2016/17 season, making his debut against Munster in October 2016.

In November 2016, he started at inside centre for Ireland in their first victory over New Zealand. He scored a try in the 75th minute of the 40-29 win in Chicago, beating three tacklers before touching down.

Leinster completed the PRO12/Champions Cup double in Henshaw’s second season with the side.

He starred for Ireland during the 2017 Six Nations, earning him a place in the British and Irish Lions squad to tour New Zealand. He played in four of the warm-up matches but was ruled out of the Tests through injury.

In 2018, he won his second Six Nations with Ireland, starting four matches as the side claimed a historic Grand Slam – the country’s first since 2009.

He would go on to start all three Tests on tour to Australia as Ireland claimed their maiden series victory Down Under in 2018.

However, he would miss Ireland’s first victory at home over the All Blacks.

Second World Cup and Lions tour

In 2019, he was selected in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Injuries hampered his involvement, but he still managed two appearances at the tournament. Unfortunately, one of those was the defeat to New Zealand in the quarter-finals.

Since the 2019 World Cup, Henshaw has been a regular in the Ireland squad and in 2021, he was once again selected to tour with the British and Irish Lions.

He featured in the Lions’ first tour match at outside centre against Japan and had played two further tour matches before starting all three Tests against the Springboks in South Africa.

In 2022, Henshaw created more history with Ireland, starting all three Tests in their historic maiden series victory over New Zealand.

Robbie Henshaw’s career honours

Connacht League and Cup winner
All Ireland League winner
First Ireland schools international from an Athlone-based school
Ireland U20 international

2015/16 PRO12 winner

4x PRO12/14 titles
1x Champions Cup title

2x Six Nations Titles
2016 Grand Slam winner
Try scorer in the first-ever win over New Zealand
Series winner in Australia
Series winner in New Zealand
2020/21 Rugby Writers of Ireland men’s Player of the Year

British and Irish Lions
2x Lions tourist
3x Lions Test caps

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