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'He's gassing past us in training!' Healy backs fired-up Mike Ross to see more Ireland action

“He was accepting, but pretty pissed off,” Cian Healy said of his long-term front row partner.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

AS A MAN who has gotten closer than anyone, more often than most, to Mike Ross over the years, Cian Healy is well placed to judge the man’s mood.

Ross, the Leinster and Ireland tighthead who found himself omitted from an Ireland squad for the first time since being installed by Declan Kidney in 2009, is a regular training scrum opponent for loosehead Healy. The powerful ‘number 1′ touched base with his team-mate after Joe Schmidt’s squad announcement this week and found the Corkman still showing a resolve to wear the green jersey again.

“I think this could be something that could spur an extra little bit out of him,” Healy said at the RDS ahead of Leinster’s Pro12 meeting with champions Connacht.

I texted him after that (squad) went out and he was accepting, but pretty pissed off. And rightly too.

“There are strange things make him tick, but I think this could be one of the things that pulls something out of him.

“He has that space to go into: crazy work-rate and he’s running some of his top speeds in training… gassing past all of us in the last few weeks,” Healy joked with a deadpan delivery, but added:

Cian Healy and Mike Ross Locking horns: Healy and Ross in familiar pose on the training ground. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“I don’t know where it’s come from, but I definitely have faith that there’s a bit more in his tank.”

Ross will start along side Healy in Leinster’s front row for the visit of the in-form men of the west, part of a powerful pack head coach Leo Cullen hopes can keep Connacht on the back foot on a ground where they have never won.

“Rossy has just been a real stalwart,” Cullen says of the 36-year-old, 61-cap prop, “it’s tough for players as they get on in years, but Mike still feels he has plenty to prove. And another exciting challenge for him this week.”

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Sean Farrell

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