With Robbie Henshaw back in training after injury, centre Jared Payne is looking forward to resuming his partnership with the Connacht man

Robbie Henshaw returned to light training with Ireland this week after a hamstring injury and fellow centre Jared Payne can’t wait for the Connacht man to return to the starting lineup.

Payne started alongside Luke Fitzgerald in Ireland’s opening victory over Canada, but with their next game not until Sunday afternoon Henshaw could be in line to come straight back in.

And with Ireland looking for their next great centre pairing, after the retirement of Brian O’Driscoll and non-selection of Gordon D’Arcy – who played a combined 215 times for their country – Payne hopes he and Henshaw get their chance to nail down the roles.

“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 (Gordon) D’Arcy and Drico (Brian O’Driscoll) going when we got thrown in there, but I think we handled it pretty well.

“When Joe (Schmidt) 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.”

Ireland play Romania at Wembley Stadium on Sunday looking to build on their 50-7 win over Canada last weekend.