It's inevitable when any young Connacht star breaks out, that the rumours about a move to one of the 'senior' provinces would start. But there is a sense that this time, it's different. With Connacht undergoing a huge improvement, and Leinster are in decline after the departure of key players, it doesn't make a huge amount of sense for Henshaw to make the move East.
Robbie Henshaw Leinster Rumours
Ever since a fresh-faced 19 year old Robbie Henshaw made his debut for Connacht at fullback, there have been rumours circulating that Leinster were poised to steal the youngster. Henshaw has gone from strength to strength since then, cementing himself as a key part of Connacht's backline, and moving into the trickier outside centre role.
Henshaw has been outstanding this season, displaying a range of defensive reads and attacking lines from centre that haven't been seen in Ireland since O'Driscoll. It's no surprise then that the rumours and clamour from Leinster supporters to sign Henshaw have been growing in recent months.
Henshaw told RTE Sport that he is unmoved by these rumours:
It's in the media, it's over my head. I haven't said much about it. I'm contracted with Connacht for another season. I'm there until next year.
Indeed, Henshaw and the other Connacht starlet Kieran Marmion were signed to two year contracts just last season, while Henshaw is also enrolled in NUI Galway and will look to graduate after next year.
It doesn't make a huge amount of sense for the IRFU or David Nucifora to force a transfer between provinces mid-contract, and which flies in the face of the increased investment that the IRFU have been making in Connacht. He seems to be learning a huge amount from recent Connacht signings Bundee Aki and All Black Mils Muliana who have a lot of experience to pass on to Connacht's backline youngsters.
Henshaw himself has been thrilled with Connacht's form, stressing that he is enjoying playing for his native province and the recent form that they are in:
Yeah, I'm happy there, We're certainly producing the goods at the moment. We're unbeaten in the Sportsground all year. We're trying to make it into a fortress and it's going really well.
Having grown up in the Connacht system all his life with Buccaneers RFC and Marist Athlone in the Connacht Schools, the calls for him to "come home" are misinformed.
It appears that Leinster may have to look in another direction for their outside centre needs, perhaps at the talented Luke Fitzgerald, who has been in sparkling form recently, or in their recent import Ben Te'o. Brendan Macken and academy stars Gary Ringrose and Rory O'Loughlin are three other prospects who might feel a little hard done by that Leinster would look to bring in an outside centre, despite all the talent in their ranks already.