Iain Henderson is realising his potential as a true Test match enforcer for Ireland, says his second-row partner Devin Toner.
The Ulster powerhouse’s bulldozing display helped Ireland thump South Africa 38-3 on Saturday in Dublin.
Henderson’s highlights included running straight through Eben Etzebeth in the first half as Ireland earned their record win over the Springboks.
“Iain’s a monster in the gym and a monster on the pitch,” said Toner.
“He’s turned into the enforcer he always had the potential to become.
“When you have someone who is the talisman of Etzebeth, he’s their captain, he’s renowned for being their physical man on the pitch.
“So when you see Hendy stand up to him and get the better of him, it’s amazing. It’s brilliant and it gives your team a real gee-up.”
Henderson earned his 33rd Ireland cap in Saturday’s game after producing an impressive British and Irish Lions tour in the summer despite missing on selection for Warren Gatland’s Test team.
However, Toner says the Ulster forward’s brilliance is no surprise.
“When he was coming through we didn’t call him the man-child for nothing,” he said.
“I’ve known him and played alongside him for a good few years now, and he’s just a special player.
“He’s evolved his game, he’s a line-out caller these days as well.
“He gives confidence to the guys around him. You know he’s going to get over the gainline. You know he’s going to smash them in the tackle.”