Rugby World Cup 2015: Rory Best praises Iain Henderson impact

Rory Best and Iain Henderson
Rory Best and Iain Henderson were part of the Ireland team which beat Canada 50-7
Rugby World Cup
Hosts: England Dates: 18 September-31 October
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, BBC local radio, plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.
Further coverage: BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio.

Ireland hooker Rory Best believes "genetic freak" Iain Henderson has limitless potential as a Test player.

Lock Henderson starred in Ireland's 50-7 World Cup win over Canada in Cardiff on Saturday, and Best praised his Ulster team-mate's rich promise.

"Hendy's a bit of a genetic freak and if you give him the ball in certain situations he's very hard to stop," he said.

"He's laid back and it's hard to know where the limit is with his potential."

O'Connell's successor?

Having been one of the standout performers in the build-up to the competition, Henderson, 23, now has the chance to cement a starting spot in Ireland's World Cup campaign.

Captain Paul O'Connell will retire from the Test arena after the World Cup, and in Henderson Ireland look to have a ready-made long-term replacement.

"It's great for him and to get through, a hard 80 minutes will be a big boost for him," continued Best.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Rory Best, Sean Cronin and Sean O'Brien on Ireland's 50-7 victory

"It's something you see every month and big game that goes by now, he just grows and gets better and better, and the big players around him and the influence of the coaches, it's all paying dividends.

"But he's a very chilled-out guy, he spends a lot of hours in the day asleep."

O'Connell has built a formidable Test match aura across his 13-year international career, exercising a massive leadership influence on and off the pitch.

But Best believes Henderson has the potential to emulate O'Connell's qualities as he hones his own approach to Test rugby.

Ireland's remaining World Cup Pool D games
Sunday, 27 Sept, 16:45 BST: Ireland v Romania, Wembley Stadium
Sunday, 4 Oct, 16:45 BST: Ireland v Italy, Olympic Stadium
Sunday, 11 Oct, 16:45 BST: Ireland v France, Millennium Stadium

"Paul has bits of his game that Hendy doesn't and he can work on that, but the flip side is that Hendy has a lot of aspects of his game in terms of athleticism and raw power that a lot of people don't have.

"So he has to mould his game, keep trying to get better, take the bits from Paulie too, because in world rugby I don't think you're going to get a better role model as a second row than Paul O'Connell.

"And he's very lucky to be playing alongside him. Hendy will learn from that, and get better through that.

"Hendy has to be his own player though, because he can do things on the ball that a lot of people in world rugby can't do."

For the latest rugby union news, follow @bbcrugbyunion on Twitter

Top Stories