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James Hume took confidence from holding his own against ‘world’s best’ Robbie Henshaw

James Hume

James Hume has revealed that holding his own against Robbie Henshaw in Ulster’s recent win against Leinster was a “huge marker” for him.

Young Ulster centre Hume has been consistently improving in recent times, having won his first cap for Ireland against the United States last July, and was again included in his country’s squad for the Autumn Nations Series.

The 23-year-old didn’t get the opportunity to win his second international cap in November, but he has impressed for Ulster since then, and has seen his good form rewarded with a call-up to Ireland’s Six Nations squad.

Hume was speaking to the Belfast Telegraph ahead of Ulster’s Heineken Champions Cup encounter with Clermont Auvergne and pinpointed his meeting with Henshaw as a crucial game in his development.

James Hume on coming up against Robbie Henshaw.

“I did take great confidence from that Leinster game because I have massive respect for Robbie Henshaw,” Hume said.

“He’s probably the best centre in the world. Coming up against him and holding my own is a huge marker for me. Some games I’d go into and I’d take for granted that I’m there.

“I’d be looking at my opposite number without really appreciating how much damage I could do. Going into that Leinster game especially with Robbie being my opposite number, that was a huge starting point for me.

“It was thinking ‘I know how good he is but I also know the threat I can pose’ and I carried that into the Clermont game and so on.”

The Ulsterman will be looking to win more caps in the Six Nations.

Another big performance against Clermont today would do Hume the world of good for his international ambitions, given the level of competition that currently exists at centre for Ireland.

Although he has been in fantastic form recently, it is probably fair to say that Hume is fourth in the pecking order among Ireland’s centre options, behind Henshaw, Garry Ringrose and Bundee Aki.

Those three have been Ireland’s established choices at centre for the last few years, with one of Henshaw, Ringrose and Aki often missing out on a starting place, but Hume does have youth on his side and also has a good run of game under his belt.

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