Leinster get their man as Robbie heads east

Robbie Henshaw will join Leinster on a three-year deal at the end of this season. Connacht Rugby had confirmed that the Athlone native would not be extending his stay in the west earlier this week.

  Commenting on his decision the Irish international said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in Connacht Rugby who has played a part in getting me to where I am today, from my club, Buccaneers, to my school, Marist College and all of the coaching staff in Connacht Rugby itself.”

  Connacht Head Coach, Pat Lam, said: “Obviously we are disappointed with the ultimate outcome of our negotiations with Robbie, however, we respect the decision he has made and wish him all the best with the Irish team and into the future.”

  The Connacht centre, who can also play at full-back, will be linking up with Leinster coach, Leo Cullen. Cullen was understandably pleased with his new acquisition.

  “We are delighted to have secured Robbie’s signature for the next three seasons. Robbie is a huge talent and we have all seen that over the last few weeks and months with Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations and during the World Cup. 

  “We look forward to welcoming him into Leinster when this season is over and I am sure that our supporters would echo that view.”

  While Brian O’Driscoll and Leinster supporters took to Twitter to herald the impending arrival of the 22-year-old Connacht ace, there were other cautionary views put forward. Former Irish international, Tony Ward, lamented the loss of a role model for young players in the west and described it as “a bad day for Connacht”.

  It’s certainly a positive move for Leinster and time will tell how good the move will be for Henshaw and Ireland – but one thing’s for sure there’ll be many melancholy fans watching Connacht at the Sportsground next year.

Henshaw move in his own words

“I was fortunate to be given my chance to play pro rugby at just 19 years of age and it’s been an incredible journey over the past four seasons, culminating in my breakthrough onto the national team.

 “I also want to thank the Connacht fans who have always been so supportive of not just me but the team as a whole.

 “Connacht Rugby are sitting in a strong position both in the PRO12 and Challenge Cup and I am determined to play my part to ensure we finish the season out on a high.”