/ Six Nations 2015

Chris Henry: Ireland must push on to World Cup

Updated: Sunday, 16 Mar 2014 13:32 | Comments

Chris Henry (right) celebrates Ireland's Six Nations win with his Ulster team-mates Rory Best and Iain Henderson
Chris Henry (right) celebrates Ireland's Six Nations win with his Ulster team-mates Rory Best and Iain Henderson

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Ireland must chase glory at Rugby World Cup 2015 after lifting the Six Nations title, according to flanker Chris Henry.

Henry seized the opportunity left by Sean O'Brien's season-ending shoulder injury to claim Ireland's openside berth throughout the Six Nations.

And he called on Ireland to start their build-up to next year's World Cup in England without delay.

"I think we have to capitalise on this now in terms of the World Cup," said Henry. "We've got such a massive run-in to the World Cup now, that when we get together next we've got to focus on that.

"I feel a lot of us have improved individually in the last eight weeks under Joe [Schmidt], and that's what we need to keep doing. Because of the quality of player we have, there's no telling how far this team can go.

"I want to use it as a springboard for myself as well, personally. Every time I go out there I put pressure on myself. I've just loved every minute."

"I think definitely we will look back and one day, say: 'I was there'" - Chris Henry, on playing in Brian O'Driscoll's last international game

Henry's deft offload opened a half-gap for Johnny Sexton to scythe home for the fly-half's first of two tries in the edgy victory over France.

“I just thought I needed to get it away, then Johnny did all the hard work," said Henry. "The feeling overall is just incredible. I don't usually give one-handed offloads but I just thought we had the advantage, so I'm relieved it worked."

Hailing the impact of Schmidt, Henry now wants Ireland to take advantage of the shrewd head coach's analytical approach in future.

"It gives you a lot of confidence because you know you're in excellent hands with his preparation and his attention to detail," said Henry. "He's been incredible to deal with, you're on your toes and you have to know your stuff.

"But you want a coach that challenges you and we certainly are, all the time, with Ireland under Joe.

"The pressure is on you to know your stuff. But once you do know all that, it gives you huge confidence to go out and do what he wants."

Henry said Ireland's class of 2014 will forever look back with pride on their part in Brian O'Driscoll's 141st and final international turn.

"I think definitely we will look back and one day, say: 'I was there'," said Henry. "I feel very privileged and honoured to be able to play in his last game, and to play so many games with him.

"It's a fantastic feeling to win it with his last day, but also very sad too.

"It's going to be strange when we go to the next camp and he's not going to be there, but unfortunately that's the way life is. Things have to move on and I'm just so privileged to be able to play with him."

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