Robbie Henshaw savoured a day Leinster "ground it out" and expected the unexpected after their terrific Champions Cup defeat of Montpellier at the RDS.

Henshaw, supreme at outside centre, was at the heart of everything good about the home display on Saturday.

Adam  Byrne went to the bin late on but Leo Cullen's men still had to enough to close out a great opening win, with Henshaw heaping praise on a panel hurt by injuries to key men in the build-up.

"Credit to the lads. We ground it out after a tough week," he told RTÉ Sport.

"We stepped up to the plate. We knew the physical challenge that was coming. The wind was pretty strong in that first half.

"We had to hold the ball, and kick smartly. The wind was so strong the ball could be brought off the field fairly quickly. 

"There was a few late pullouts during the week. A few young guys came in and I thought Ross Byrne did really well and James Ryan did unbelievably well for a late call-up. We had to ground it out."

At one point Henshaw, having been poleaxed by Nemani Nadolo, immediately recovered to haul down the huge wing, and then sprang to his feet to rob Ruan Pienaar of possession.

It was a stirring piece of play that typified his afternoon, and he capped it with an opportunistic try after Byrne's crossfield kick had the visitors in sixes and sevens.

"I just kept running," Henshaw said of his score. 

"Always expect the unexpected I suppose! It fell inside, I grasped it and fell over. It was nice to bag a try after coming back from an injury as well."