Life in Lockdown brought Robbie Henshaw back to his roots. Having left home in his late teens to move to Galway and pursue a professional career with Connacht, it had been quite some time since the Ireland centre had spent an extended period under the same roof as his family so he welcomed the opportunity to decamp back to Athlone.
“That was the beauty of it,” he says. “We were all back together, nearly like back to school days.”
The challenge, Henshaw explains, was rediscovering a routine following the sudden suspension of rugby. Prescribed a running programme by Leinster to maintain his fitness, the 27-year-old was able to re-connect with school friends and, in his own words, ‘return to basics’ by spending endless hours fishing with his father and adding a couple of new songs to his repertoire.
“I just went back to basics and the days kind of rolled on,” he continues. “One of the challenges I was nominated for was to learn a new tune on the piano. So I learned Grace by the Wolfe Tones and it was just great to be back with my parents, who were delighted to have me home. I suppose it’s probably the longest I’ve been home since school, living under the one roof. My Dad was joking that we were all still speaking at the end of the 10 weeks, which was a positive.”
As the weeks and months rolled on, and rugby’s return edged closer, Henshaw’s mind turned back to business and a busy schedule ahead. The 43-time capped Ireland international is now relishing the prospect of stepping back out on the pitch as Leinster go head-to-head with Munster at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening (Kick-off 7.35pm).
“Obviously I missed sport big time, but it was a good way to look back and reflect on previous seasons and things that went on over the past few years
“It was nice, but by the end of it everyone was itching to get back to normality and the good thing was being able to work on things like video analysis during that period.
“Now I’m just really looking forward to playing again. It’s going to be a challenge for everyone involved as there’s going to be seven games back-to-back – all going well – leading into finals rugby with Leinster. Then a week off and it’s into the international calendar. Every player knows it’s going to be hectic, but for us having this long period off, I think we’re all in the same boat, itching to get back playing and keep going, improving and doing the best we can.”
Canterbury, the official kit partner to Irish Rugby, has revealed the new Ireland Rugby Home and Alternate jerseys that will be worn throughout the 2020/21 season.
It is a new era for Irish Rugby, and the latest technology is at the heart of the new Ireland Home and Alternate Test jerseys which are on sale now from Elverys.ie, in-store and on Canterbury.com.