Six Nations: Thierry Henry inspiration for Rhys Webb and Wales

Rhys Webb
Rhys Webb tries to evade a tackle from Gordon Reid during Wales' defeat by Scotland
Six Nations: Wales v Ireland
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Friday, 10 March Kick-off: 20:05 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, S4C, Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, plus live text commentary via the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app

Before establishing himself as Wales' first-choice scrum-half, there was a time when Rhys Webb used to dream of playing as a striker for Manchester United.

The 28-year-old was therefore even more impressed than his Wales team-mates when a footballing legend turned up to watch them train before Friday's Six Nations match against Ireland.

Thierry Henry, the former France, Arsenal and Barcelona forward, was at Wales' Vale of Glamorgan base as part of a coaching course with the Football Association of Wales.

The 39-year-old is now Belgium's assistant manager, and the World Cup winner was an intrigued onlooker on a blustery day near Cardiff, eager to exchange coaching tips with his Welsh rugby counterparts.

However, Henry did not appear to be too keen on joining in.

"It's pretty good to have him around. It's a bit surreal really to have a legend like him around," says Webb.

"I shook his hand and said hello. I don't think he fancied catching a few box kicks or whatever.

"As soon as the forwards came down he disappeared so I think he must be a back!"

Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry (left) now works as an assistant to Belgium manager Roberto Martinez

Welsh morale has been tested after successive defeats against England Scotland but, even as a United fan, Webb was cheered by Henry's presence.

"It was great. We've had a great session that morning with the backs and it's great to have a couple of the Welsh football management and Thierry Henry come down and watch," he adds.

"It's been a good buzz around the hotel and the training sessions this week and Friday can't come quick enough."

Irish fans may be forgiven for thinking Wales are indulging in a little kidology by inviting Henry to a training session before their meeting at the Principality Stadium.

The Champions League winner, after all, is an infamous figure for many after his handball helped France beat the Republic of Ireland in a World Cup play-off in 2009.

When he is reminded of the controversy, Webb laughs.

"Maybe we should get him in here to do the press conference," he jokes.

"It's been good to have him around and pretty surreal. Hopefully he can bring us a little bit of luck on Friday night."

Six Nations table

Wales undone by 'fine margins'

Wales are fourth in the Six Nations table, having surrendered half-time leads in both their previous games against England and Scotland.

Rob Howley's men have scored a total of just three points in the second halves of those matches, prompting criticism from fans and pundits alike - with many calling for changes to be made.

Webb is one player whose place seems secure after two fine individual displays in losing causes.

"I am really enjoying my rugby, but disappointed with results," he says.

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"I pay no attention to that [calls for changes]. We have unbelievable talent in the squad, competition for places, guys who have won a Lions series, Grand Slams, the lot.

"Credit to Ireland, ranked fourth [in the world], beat New Zealand in the autumn and they are scoring a hell of a lot of points in their games.

"We know we have to stay together as a unit in defence and defend well and finish off our chances.

"We have created a number of opportunities in the last couple of games, but it is just that fine margin, the off-loads or forward passes, TMO decisions, which have not gone our way.

"I hope they will this Friday night and it will be a hell of a Test match."

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