The Leinster star was speaking about his former team mate on Wednesday morning
Nathan White's loss will be massive for Connacht according to former teammate Rob Henshaw.
The New Zealand-born prop announced his retirement on Wednesday morning due to concussion issues. He played 13 times for Ireland, despite only making his debut before the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Speaking today, White thanked his coaches at Connacht and Leinster for his time in Ireland, which culminated with a Pro12 win with Connacht.
Speaking in the immediate aftermath of White's announcement, Henshaw had only fond words for the prop. The Irish international was speaking at the launch of Canterbury's new Leinster European Jersey.
"It's a big loss to the game, and to Connacht as well", Henshaw revealed. "Nathan's a great friend of mine. It was a pleasure to play with him for the last four years. As a young kid coming into Connacht, he was one of the key leaders in Eric Elwood's time. He showed us the way as kids. For player welfare, your health is first. He's looking after himself by taking the right steps."
Despite the quiet public persona, Henshaw added that White was a vocal leader in the Connacht dressing room, during their time together.
"He was just a calm character. When he spoke, everyone listened. When someone needed to talk up, it was him. As a player, who has been around for so long, and has experience on his side, he made a massive difference for us in drive and standards."
"He has always driven it off the field. He was always in the leadership groups every year. He'd drive the standards of the whole set-up. It's a massive loss."
Henshaw has not played since the second test against South Africa last summer. He has yet to play for Leinster after the summer transfer, but hopes to make his debut next month.
The Athlone native returned to the pitch this week, and said the European games against Castres and Montpellier "may be in the pipeline".
Henshaw was speaking at Canterbury's launch of the new Leinster European jersey which will be worn for the first time against Castres in the opening round of the European Rugby Champions Cup on October 15th. The striking new design salutes the past with the integration of gold hoops in tandem with traditional blue and navy lines.