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'He just started taking charge in Japan. Everyone listened. It looked like he flourished on that'

Greg Feek attributes Cian Healy’s resurgence purely to the player himself, but suggests it hasn’t all come down to weight loss.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

ALL BUT WRITTEN off as an international entity two years ago, Cian Healy’s recent resurgence has seen him perhaps usurp his fellow looseheads in Joe Schmidt’s much-discussed depth chart.

Two stellar displays versus South Africa and Fiji – the latter from the bench – were reminiscent of the rampaging Healy of old, but not overly surprising given his form for Leinster so far this season.

Speaking at Carton House earlier today, Ireland assistant coach Greg Feek suggested Healy had become imbued by his self-assumed role of leader amongst younger peers during Ireland’s summer tour to Japan, and shed some light on the physical changes the 30-year-old has made in order to return to his ballistic best.

“The person that needs the most credit for that is Cian,” said Feek. “He’s a really passionate individual, really passionate about wanting to play.

“Again, he’s a guy that just loves to be involved, in the big matches, loves being around the lads.

He really grew when I saw him in Japan on tour, and he just started taking charge. It was just a natural thing. He talked and everyone listened. They all responded and it looked like he flourished on that.

Feek continued: “Some of the niggles he had, they weren’t a broken finger – they were big injuries, and that can test you no matter who you are in terms of resilience.

“I admire him for how he’s managed to get to this point now, and he deserves to give himself the most credit.”

Greg Feek Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The former All Black then attributed Healy’s recent reinvigoration not merely to weight loss, but a combination of factors and tweaks to his lifestyle.

Feek also suggested a run without injury had finally afforded Healy the opportunity to put the wheels in motion towards a return to his formidable best.

“You start to understand exactly how your body works when you’re a bit older, whether that’s diet, extras, or more sleep – probably all of them,” he said.

“On-the-pitch stuff and gym stuff is part of it, but the whole part – all those aspects – all benefit and add to it.

“I think when you are struggling with injuries it’s difficult to get all these things and that right. You just get somewhere and then you have to go back because in rehab you’re not running. It’s difficult to get all those things right when you’re not playing Test rugby.

“If you build your base up that’s when you start getting continuity. They were major injuries, and just seeing him go through all that…You’ve got to be human about it as well: you feel for them, and you want to help, but you feel helpless sometimes.

“You connect to that because some of us have been through that too. It’s not easy. And who they have close them: wives and girlfriends – sometimes it’s on them to help them get through as well.”

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‘I remember driving out and saying to myself, ‘this is probably the last time I’ll play for Ireland”

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