Henshaw ready for a 'bit of niggle' with physical New Zealand

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Robbie Henshaw is relishing a "bit of niggle" with New Zealand and wants the British and Irish Lions series against the All Blacks to be as physical as possible.

The Leinster centre knows what it takes to beat Steve Hansen's men having scored the winning try in Ireland's sensational victory over New Zealand in Chicago last November.

However, Henshaw was taken from the field on a stretcher as the All Blacks gained revenge for that loss just two weeks later.

In the Lions' last tour to New Zealand in 2005, Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll was the victim of a spear tackle from Keven Mealamu and Tana Umaga less than a minute into the first Test, which ruled him out of the remainder of the series with a dislocated shoulder.

But for Henshaw, the thrill of facing a physical New Zealand side is one he is eagerly relishing.

"I think it's all part of it," Henshaw said. 

"On their side it's a great opportunity for those guys to play against a quality outfit like us. To have that bit of niggle in rugby, that is needed and it gets both teams going.

"Me personally I do like that niggle in the game, it makes it more exciting and more exciting to be involved in. The higher the physicality the better for me."

Henshaw revealed he has been picking the brains of former Leinster and Lions stars O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy ahead of his first tour.

"I've met both during the year for a catch-up about their experiences, in particular Brian has been really good, his experience alone is invaluable," he added.

"I caught up with them and picked their brains a bit. They said just coming out of your shell was one of the main things mentioned - not to be too shy, to mingle with everyone and get to know the lads and have good crack with them as well."