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'That's the type of game I like' - Healy relishing warfare on Ireland return

The prop is looking forward to the mauls and rucks during Saturday’s game in London.

Healy is back and hungry to make an impact.
Healy is back and hungry to make an impact.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

AFTER PROVING HIS fitness for Leinster last week, Cian Healy is back in the international mix and he is determined to make his presence felt at Twickenham.

The prop is unlikely to get the nod from the start on Saturday but will look to make an impact off the bench against England as Joe Schmidt’s side go in search of their first win of the campaign.

Healy started Leinster’s victory over the Cardiff Blues and was drafted in to the Six Nations squad for Saturday’s trip to London. After a week of training in Carton House, he’s chomping at the bit to pull on the green jersey again.

“It’s been a progressive step up in training through Leinster and then into here,” Healy explained. “There is that extra kick in training so it has been pushing the fitness in the right direction.

“It’s more evident because I was out injured and went from not running to running with Leinster and then here. It’s just platform to platform, building up all the time.

“It was frustrating to miss out on any game [France] but you kind of know yourself where you are with your fitness levels and I needed that extra run out.

“It wouldn’t have been good for the squad to come in undercooked so I had to get that extra blow-out with Leinster to know I was in that right position to come in here.”

Cian Healy and Mike Ross Healy and Mike Ross are back in the Ireland squad for this weekend. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Jack McGrath has been one of the standout performers in Ireland’s opening two games and has emerged as serious competition for Healy at loosehead.

But the Clontarf man insists he has a good relationship with his Leinster team-mate, although at the end of the day they are in direct battle with each other.

“We have a good partnership with what we do,” Healy said. “Coming from injury my goal was to come back in to that partnership and get back to working with Jack. Then you deal with the challenge to win the shirt.”

McGrath has been given the chance to impress because of the injury layoffs Healy has endured. It’s been a difficult nine months for the 28-year-old and he believes he’s come out the other side stronger.

“I feel good. A lot of what I am doing is maintenance work so after training I will always look a bit banged up because I have ice packs on everything and I am resting everything but the more you pick up bangs like that the more you learn how to treat them and how to treat something that feels like something before it becomes an issue.

“So straight off the pitch now for icing or into the hot bath and then the cold bath and recovery is one of the big things for me. At the moment the body feels very good.

“Running wise I have got a lot of miles under the belt since I have been back the last few weeks so I am happy enough.

Cian Healy evades the tackle of Ellis Jenkins Healy got minutes under the belt in Cardiff last weekend. Source: Craig Thomas/INPHO

“It’s been frustrating but it is frustrating for a couple of hours and then you go build on where you want to be.

“That can separate you from being a quick returner or a slow returner if you are sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself be injured.

“Being proactive about recovery and what you have to be is going to get you back quicker.”

The theme of the first two weekends of the championship has been the attritional nature of the contests with Ireland’s injury list growing.

However, Healy concedes he relishes the ‘car crash’ rugby we’ve become accustomed to at Test match level.

“That’s the type of game I like. I like the big hits and the slow game. If you get a chance you get out and have a run in some open space but I’m built for that physical contact and I kind of know my strengths at this stage. It’s the type of game I would look forward to.

“They are pretty honest at scrum, same as ourselves, so you are going to have a good fight in there in the tight exchanges. There’s good attritional value in the mauls and rucks as well. It is something I will be looking forward to.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s teatime kick-off, Healy says there will be an added sense of occasion in the air but just because England are the opponents is no extra motivation for the players.

“It’s a big thing for supporters and the crowd is always huge and vocal so it does add to it. Any game you play for Ireland, you are going out there wearing that shirt to do your best and it is going to be a dogfight. That doesn’t change whoever is in front of you.”

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Ryan Bailey

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