Ireland’s Jared Payne is eager to find rapport with returning centre Robbie Henshaw

Ireland centre Jared Payne is tackled by Canada's John Moonlight during the opening Pool D game in the Millennium Stadium
Ireland centre Jared Payne is tackled by Canada's John Moonlight during the opening Pool D game in the Millennium Stadium

Jared Payne is keen to ease his centre partnership with Robbie Henshaw into World Cup form against Romania on Sunday.

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt will hope Henshaw can return to full training on Wednesday in a bid to beat hamstring trouble in time for the weekend Pool D clash at Wembley.

Henshaw missed Ireland’s 50-7 victory over Canada in Cardiff, and only went through light jogging in Monday’s training session.

Ulster centre Payne hopes to be paired back with Henshaw sooner rather than later, with pivotal clashes against Italy and France to follow the Romania match.

“It would be nice to get some time together with Robbie but whoever Joe picks, we’ve got to make sure that we get together, do our video work then build the combinations as best we can,” said Payne.

“And then hopefully come the game it’s pretty seamless.”

Leinster’s Luke Fitzgerald stepped in at the last-minute to replace Henshaw for Ireland’s World Cup opener against Canada.

“Luke (Fitzgerald) came in and slotted in pretty seamlessly well on the weekend and that was only from a Thursday,” said Payne. “So we’ve got to take a lead from that, follow his example and try to do a job.

“Robbie was jogging around out there on Monday, so I think he was moving well enough. And we’ll see what happens in the next few days I guess.”

Ireland will be keen to restore their first-choice partnership in time for the Italy and France clashes, even if Schmidt opts to mix up selection against the world’s 17th ranked side Romania - Darren Cave is still epxected to be involved on Sunday.

Schmidt admitted Henshaw and Payne were a “manufactured midfield” when first thrown together as the successors to Gordon D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll.

Now Ireland’s settled centres however, the duo are expected to thrive in this campaign.

New Zealand-born Payne tipped Connacht’s rising 21-year-old star Henshaw for future world dominance.

“Robbie’s got a great passing game, very good feet and he’s big and abrasive too,” said Payne. “And in a few more years he’s going to be one of the standout centres in world rugby.

“We both had some pretty big boots to fill with D’Arcy and Drico going when we got thrown in there, but I think we handled it pretty well.

“When Joe first put us together, he just told us to chat to each other a lot and to look at videos to study each other’s game to build a combination.

“He gave us confidence to back our skills and try to bring that together as best we could.

“And then any time you get picked together for several games then hopefully you realise you’re doing something right.”

And former Ireland flanker Kevin McLaughlin is the latest rugby star forced to retire due to concussion.

The 31-year-old suffered a concussion in Leinster’s season-opening Pro12 clash with Edinburgh and has since been advised to retire.

McLaughlin’s premature retirement follows hot on the heels of former Wales flanker Jonathan Thomas quitting the sport after contracting epilepsy due to repetitive head trauma.

Governing body World Rugby have admitted looking into potential law changes around tackling in a bid to improve the sport’s safety.

“It is upsetting and frustrating to have to retire when I feel I have so much left to give but it is the right decision and I am glad that our medical staff were so proactive in encouraging me to see a neurologist.”

McLaughlin told Leinster’s website.

“The support I have received from the club and my team-mates has been incredible and will help to soften the blow of having to having to retire from the game I love.

“From a rugby perspective I have no regrets.

“I was lucky enough to be involved in Leinster throughout a very successful and rewarding period during which I have learned a lot about life and made lifelong friends.”

McLaughlin won eight caps for Ireland but also featured in Leinster’s 2011 and 2012 Heineken Cup final victories.

The combative flanker had stepped up to captain Leinster at the start of the season in the absence of number eight Jamie Heaslip, away at the World Cup with Ireland.

Leinster lost their opening Pro12 match 16-9 at Edinburgh on September 4, and after suffering a head injury McLaughlin has now been forced to retire.

“Having sustained a concussion in the opening Pro12 game against Edinburgh Kevin was referred by the Leinster Rugby medical team to a leading neurologist, due to concerns about his increasing susceptibility to concussion and the length of recovery,” read Leinster’s statement.

“Following tests it was recommended that it would be in his best long-term interests to stop playing.”

Head coach Leo Cullen admitted he hopes McLaughlin will continue to help Leinster within their back-room set-up.

“Kevin is a very popular member of the squad both on and off the pitch and thankfully he’s open to the possibility of helping out with us behind the scenes certainly in the short term and again I think that’s an indication of the esteem with which he is held within the group,” said Cullen.

“Kevin is one of the most selfless players in our squad. He is the consummate pro and always put the team first.”