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Farrell relishing Henshaw reunion against Wales

Farrell relishing Henshaw reunion against Wales

Farrell relishing Henshaw reunion against Wales

It’s been nine years since Chris Farrell and Robbie Henshaw started an international match together, and the Munster centre is looking forward to being reunited when Ireland take on Wales at the Aviva Stadium.

The two sides will get the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup underway on Friday night, both looking to fly out the blocks and get off to the perfect start.

Ireland and Wales will be eager to bounce back from disappointing ends to the Six Nations last month and the first game in a new competition could be just the tonic they need.

You have to go back to 2011 for the last time Farrell and Henshaw both played from the first whistle in the green of Ireland , in a 17-8 victory over England in the European Under-18 Championship.

With both players facing their injury troubles in the time since, Farrell is looking to make up for lost time in Dublin this weekend and believes the pairing at centre could bring the best out of him.

“It’s the first time I’ve played with Robbie in a while. I’m really looking forward to playing with him,” the 27-year-old said.

“I’ve played with the other centres in Bundee (Aki) and Ringer (Garry Ringrose), but this is the first time we’ll have a chance to show what we can do together as a partnership.

“What he brings, I think, complements me in a way. We work hard for each other and we scramble for each other when we have to. I’m really looking forward to that actually.”

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Friday will also see Leinster man James Lowe make his Ireland debut, as the wing was named in Andy Farrell’s starting XV after his international clearance came through.

The New Zealand-born man had been a terror throughout his time in the Guinness PRO14 and Farrell is relieved that the 28-year-old will be lining up alongside him this weekend instead of against him.

“James is a presence. That’s the one thing, having played against him. Having seen him play for Leinster, he’s such a presence on the wing. He’s such a physical player, he wants to be involved,” Farrell said.

“He’s got that real fiery edge to him. He’s one of those players you want on your team, because you know what he’s going to bring.

“He’ll bring energy and he’ll bring physicality. Those things are what we want to see this weekend and I can’t wait to see him out there in a green jersey, and play alongside him for the first time.

“We’ve been on the other side before and it’s quite hard to deal with, I’m looking forward to this side of it.”

Wales come into Friday’s match on the back of six straight defeats and are struggling to match the performances that saw them reach the Rugby World Cup semi-final just a year ago.

Wayne Pivac will be looking to change his side’s fortunes with a positive Autumn Nations Cup campaign, and despite their recent poor form, Farrell is well aware of the threat the visitors will pose.

“Their group has been consistent for a while and they have quality all over the place. They have it all over the park. They’re a really, really quality side,” he said.

“Despite whatever is going on at the minute with their losses over the last few weeks, we know you certainly can’t switch off against a team like this.

“We know that they love playing against the Irish. If they used that as motivation for having a rebound, then we’ve got to match it.

“They’re probably a really dangerous team this weekend. We’re well aware of that, but I think we’re in a good place to deal with it.”

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