Robbie Henshaw gave his reasons today for moving to Leinster and reiterated it was his decision not the IRFU’s.
Just how much of an effect will this have on Connacht and there progression has been hugely topical since the announcement. While delighted his home province have acquired such a talent, former centre Brian O’Driscoll believes it is not good news for an up and coming province like Connacht and their progress. He had this to say on Off The Ball last night:
It’s great for Leinster. I’ll get my smugness out of the way very quickly. It’s been touted for a long time and as a Leinster fan, I’m biased because they were my team and I want the best for them.
From Connacht’s perspective, I feel the annoyance and disappointment of them and their supporters because it is one of their own and they’ve groomed him to be the player he is and now he is going to one of the main competitors because he wants a new challenge, or play with different or new players who are more likely to be internationals, I don’t know what his rationale was.
It’s his decision. One guy has never made a team and they will have to regroup. They’ve got some nice new players coming through and they’ve got a handy other centre in Bundee Aki.
O’Driscoll is also of the belief that the 22-year-old’s move to Leinster will not only hurt them on the pitch but it could also affect their recruitment of foreign players.
You do want to hold on to your best players because foreigners coming over ask ‘who do you have? who do you have in the Irish setup?’, if they don’t know the individuals themselves.
Kieran Marmion was on the bench for the first game, Nathan White and Robbie Henshaw and all of a sudden Marmion is gone, Robbie Henshaw is over to Leinster and Nathan White, when Mike Ross comes back, potentially is going to be relegated to the bench. Would he be there if Marty Moore was there? Maybe not.
It does have an effect with players who want to come on and win with a team and not just pick up a salary towards the end of their careers.
What do you think? Can Connacht recover from such a significant loss? [H/T Balls.ie]