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Dublin: 3°C Wednesday 20 January 2021

'Would you not just hand him a start? How deep an end is it in a Pro14 fixture?'

This week’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra saw the lads discussing the potential of Ben Healy.

LAST WEEKEND WAS a good one for promising young Irish players across the four provinces as they all won on the opening weekend of the new Guinness Pro14, but there was one man who grabbed the headlines more than most.

21-year-old Ben Healy’s dramatic match-winning penalty for 14-man Munster from inside his own half against the Scarlets was impossible to ignore as the highlight.

Unsurprisingly, Tipperary man Healy was among the topics of discussion for Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella on yesterday’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra – an analysis podcast available to members of The42 every Monday.

ben-healy-celebrates-with-mike-haley-and-neil-cronin-after-kicking-the-winning-penalty Healy celebrates his match-winning penalty for Munster. Source: Ryan Hiscott/INPHO

Healy was making just his fourth senior appearance for Munster but showed his composure to kick two penalties and two conversions, the second of them to level the game just before his winning shot off the tee.

“He deserves all the credit he’s getting because it was such a ballsy moment. CJ Stander is looking around, he’s not sure what decision he’s going to make, should they go down the line and maul,” said Murray.

“You can hear on the ref mic that Ben Healy just says, “Happy, happy, yeah, shot” just after Tadhg Beirne asks, “What are we going to do?”

“Healy has already made the decision, a 21-year-old out-half who hasn’t played a lot of senior rugby, that is exactly the kind of thing you want. He nailed the penalty, a brilliant strike, and he’s got a cannon of a right boot.

“He seems to just love kicking, it’s great to see. He had one lovely kick from hand straight down the middle to find grass, put Scarlets in a bad position where Halfpenny has to kick out from under his posts. Healy did miss touch with one penalty and he wasn’t perfect by any means, he gave away a penalty, gets tackled into touch, you can see he’s still learning at this level.

“But the composure is what you’re looking for, that mental fortitude and he certainly seems to have that. When he came out of school, that was all the chat about him. He led Glenstal to the Munster Schools Senior Cup in 2018, which was a bit of a surprise success and he was interviewed after that match and seemed like a professional rugby player, so calm and mature.

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“So maybe it’s not a surprise to see him emerging like this.”

gavin-coombes Gavin Coombes impressed off the bench for Munster last weekend. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Second-half replacements Fineen Wycherley and Gavin Coombes also came in for praise on yesterday’s episode of the The42 Rugby Weekly Extra, with the 22-year-old forwards having had a telling impact off the bench.

And Gavan asked why Healy shouldn’t be seen as the starting out-half ahead of JJ Hanrahan this week as Munster welcome Edinburgh to Thomond Park. 

“The young guys swung it, there’s no doubt about that – the impact off the bench was what turned the game on its head in that final quarter,” said Gavan.

“Does Ben Healy look like a man who needs to be eased in? When a guy looks so confident and at ease, even though it wasn’t a perfect performance when he was on the pitch, but it was unflappable in that even when he did the odd thing that went a little bit arseways, he wasn’t remotely perturbed. 

“With that in mind, does he need to be coming off the bench, would you not just hand him a start and throw him in at the deep end?

“How deep an end is it in a Pro14 fixture? Does he need to be eased in to the extent that Munster are probably planning to use him?”

Yesterday’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra also saw the lads discussing Connacht’s thrilling second-half performance in their win over Glasgow, how Hugo Keenan and Jamison Gibson-Park excelled for Leinster versus the Dragons, some of the promising talent breaking through in Ulster, as well as the rest of the Munster game, including Peter O’Mahony’s red card. 

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