Robbie Henshaw has lauded the strength of character of Leinster team-mate Dan Leavy as the back-row made his first Heineken Champions Cup appearance in 21 months in the weekend pool win over Montpellier.

Henshaw, freshly returned from autumn international duty with Ireland, was able to line out alongside his fellow Ireland cap, who had made five Guinness Pro14 appearances in recent weeks as he built back from a serious knee injury sustained in European competition in March 2019.

Leavy capped his appearance with a try against Montpellier and Henshaw feels the way his colleague has battled back over recent months is a testament to his resilience.

"It's great to see Dan back. He really made an impact when he came on," said Henshaw.

"He's gotten better and better since he came off the bench for his first game. It's great to see him back after such a long lay-off.

"He's done incredible work and the amount of hours he's put in off the field into his rehab and into his body... I don't know the amount but I'd say it's through the roof and it just goes down to the character he is and the leader he is.

"So it's such a positive to have him back and we'll keep building." 

Next up for Henshaw and Leinster is Northampton at the RDS on Saturday as they look to build on a positive start to the campaign.

Robbie Henshaw in action at Montpellier

"Like last season, we know Northampton well and last couple of years we've played against them, so we know them well and they have good strength in depth," he said, adding that he expects them to be "dangerous" and not hold any fear of Leinster.

"They're definitely dangerous when they have the ball and once they're into the opposition '22 they're very good." 

On the international front, Ireland discovered their pool opponents for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, with South Africa and Scotland the standout names in Pool B.

"It'll definitely be an exciting pool for Ireland to be involved in. Hopefully things go well for us," said Henshaw, who will be 30 when the tournament in France kicks off.

"There's a lot of rugby to play between now and then, so we'll just keep our eyes on Northampton this week and keep building into the future."