Six Nations 2015: Henshaw says Wales centre duo will be huge test

Robbie Henshaw scores Ireland's try in the win over England despite Alex Goode's efforts
Robbie Henshaw's second-half try helped Ireland see off England on 1 March
Six Nations 2015: Wales v Ireland
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Date: 14 March, 2015 Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, HD, Red Button, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Ulster, Radio 5 live, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

Robbie Henshaw says Ireland's fledgling centre partnership will face its most difficult Six Nations test yet in Saturday's game against Wales.

Henshaw will pair up at centre with Jared Payne for just the fifth time as they face experienced Wales midfield duo Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts.

"The Welsh centre partnership is up there as one of the best in the world," said Connacht star Henshaw, 21.

"It could definitely be the toughest test for me and Jared."

Ireland head into the Millennium Stadium contest still on course for the Grand Slam after Henshaw's second-half try helped Joe Schmidt's side see off England 19-9 in Dublin on 1 March.

However, Wales reignited their own Championship ambitions with an impressive 20-13 win over France in Paris and will fancy their chances of overcoming the Irish.

Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts celebrate after the British & Irish Lions's series win in Australia in 2013
Robbie Henshaw has a lot of respect for Wales centres Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts

Roberts and Davies will combine for the 38th time on Saturday as Warren Gatland continues to rely on the centre duo whose selection led to Ireland icon Brian O'Driscoll being controversially dropped for the British & Irish Lions's decisive Test win in Australia two years ago.

Henshaw has long been touted as the now-retired O'Driscoll's natural successor at outside centre, but has instead found himself replacing Gordon D'Arcy at number 12 this season.

The Connacht youngster expects the Wales centre combination to ask difficult questions of the Ireland defence although Davies also made clear his respect for the new Irish pairing earlier this week.

"Wales are very direct but also they run decoy lines with Roberts coming up, only to throw it out the back and go wide," added Henshaw, who will win his ninth cap in Cardiff.

"It's going to test us big-time, so we've got to be prepared and stay connected in defence, and just keep our communication up all day."

With Payne in line for only his fifth cap, and Henshaw his ninth, the Irish duo have significantly less international experience than their Welsh counterparts.

Racing Metro's Roberts is set to make his 68th appearance with Clermont's Davies winning his 47th cap - and between them, they have 101 more caps than Payne and Henshaw put together.

Johnny Sexton is the best number 10 in the world - Wales fly-half Dan Biggar

"They have a really physical threat and massive size in that 10, 12 channel from Jamie Roberts, and then a very good ball player and direct runner in Jonathan Davies," added Henshaw.

"We'll have to get off the line quickly in defence and shut down their space and options as early as we can."

Despite his respect for the Wales duo, Henshaw says he is relishing the prospect of Saturday's big test.

"We'll look to get into them early, and we won't hold back.

"I'm constantly learning, growing into it more and more, getting a bit more confident with every game, especially with Jared outside and Johnny (Sexton) inside.

"We're building a good relationship there, so at the moment we're just looking to build on recent performances."

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