Robbie Henshaw benefiting from Brian O'Driscoll mentoring role
Brian O'Driscoll is mentoring Robbie Henshaw through his attempt to lay claim to Ireland's number 13 jersey.
Henshaw impressed in Ireland's win over Australia on Saturday in the outside centre role, in which O'Driscoll performed heroics for 15 years.
Connacht player Henshaw revealed after the game that the former Irish skipper has been providing regular advice on the role.
"He has a look and studies my games," said Henshaw, 21.
"He is really helping me a lot and I have a lot of respect for him. He hasn't been in camp, but he has been on the phone.
"He has been studying the matches, having a look at them himself, giving me things to work on and telling me what I'm doing well.
"I made sure to ask for him to keep helping me after last season.
"I kind of said to him: 'Don't leave me now!' I said: 'Give me a dig-out when you go and help me to improve.'"
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is yet to reveal who will prove O'Driscoll's long-term replacement, and Henshaw may ultimately wind up at inside centre.
Gordon D'Arcy's absence from the 29-15 victory over South Africa led Schmidt to pair direct outside-centre rivals Henshaw and Jared Payne in midfield in that game.
Henshaw's physical presence helped Ireland subdue the Springboks, while Payne's foot sprain ushered fit-again D'Arcy back into action for Saturday's Australia battle.
Schmidt can keep his midfield cards shielded until the Six Nations but Henshaw says he is happy simply to be featuring.
"I'll keep the head down and work away down in Connacht, staying in touch with Joe and Brian to try to improve my game.
"No doubt Mils Muliaina will give me a hand at the club [Connacht] as well, as he played a little bit of 13.
"I'll have a nice team around me so I'll just try to keep improving."