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Henshaw hoping for his own slice of history

Robbie Henshaw's earliest Lions memories are watching Keith Wood in action and the Ireland centre would love nothing more than to replicate the legendary hooker's achievements on Tour.

“It’s a massive, unbelievable experience and a privilege to be involved.”

Wood featured in two Lions Tours, playing in five Tests in total and, in 1997, contributed to the defeat of world champions South Africa – only the third time in history the Springboks had lost a series on home soil.

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Henshaw – whose uncle David played All Ireland League rugby in the front row alongside Wood – is heading to New Zealand next month for his first Lions Tour.

But after his key role in Ireland’s famous win over the All Blacks in November, the Leinster centre is hoping to write another chapter in the Lions history books this summer.

“I remember getting up incredibly early for the last New Zealand Tour and watching those games,” he said.

“I remember them all but my earliest is probably when Keith Wood was playing, I was pretty young back then but my uncle (David) played with Keith and would be a good friend of Keith’s.

“So I remember pinpointing him in the team when watching the games.

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“It’s a massive, unbelievable experience and a privilege to be involved.

“But when it gets down to it I am just really looking forward to getting out on the pitch and doing what we do best.

“I am here to back myself to go on and try and get in Test team. I will do my best to get into selection but just train away, put in the hard work and focus on the now. What happens with selection happens.”

Henshaw is training this week at Carton House with the Lions after the disappointment of Leinster’s Guinness PRO12 semi-final loss to Scarlets.

Click here for all the best images from week two, day one.

And the centre admits it has been a welcome distraction to immediately throw himself into the new challenge of getting to know players from across the four home nations.

“It’s been great, good to catch up with the boys and join in with the work they have been doing the week before in the Vale in Wales,” he added.

“It has certainly taken my mind away from the weekend which was a big disappointment for us.

“But to take the distraction and focus on something else is good.

“Going into a new playbook, it will be an advantage to get to know it early and to know all the players.

“Going into a new environment is really good, it’s a breath of fresh air and everybody loves the new set-up.”

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