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Connacht's Matt Healy aims to keep up scoring streak against Cardiff

The converted winger is eager to secure a spot in a back three containing the on-form Fionn Carr and Robbie Henshaw.

Matt Healy celebrates his try against Zebre at the weekend.
Matt Healy celebrates his try against Zebre at the weekend.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

ANYONE WHO WAS lucky enough to witness Fetu’u Vainikolo’s try against Scotland [for Tonga] will be aware of the left wing talent Connacht lost over the summer.

While Vainikolo’s first season in Ireland was underwhelming, in 2012/13 he showed devastating pace and power for the province and ran in some fine tries — notably against Leinster, Ulster and Biarritz. The Tongan is now an Exeter Chief but Lam has found a willing replacement who has started the season with a try-scoring bang.

Matt Healy is now into his second year out west. He was given a professional contract with Connacht after impressing with his club side, Lansdowne. He scored two tries in 40 minutes during a pre-season game against Top 14 champions Castres. Last weekend he scored his first RaboDirect Pro12 try in the home win against Zebre.

“It’s always great to score and it was a brilliant team try,” Healy to TheScore.ie. “It was great play from our forwards, who got a maul going and marched the ball into their 22. There was some nice passing along the backline and Fionn [Carr] put me away.”

Three matches were the sum total of Healy’s league exploits last season as he struggled to replicate his Ulster Bank League form. Lam’s arrival over the summer, and his gruelling pre-season regime, heralded another chance for squad players to break into the starting XV. Healy said:

The biggest thing that Pat did when he arrived was to give everyone a shot. We’re all going to be used at some stage of the season so he wants to put us in for games early and see what we are made of.”

“I struggled a bit with the transition last year,” the 24-year-old added. “Everyone has their own idea of what the step-up to provincial level will be like. I thought I was in good nick but, realistically, it takes a whole lot more to make it at this level.”

As a converted scrumhalf, Healy is accustomed with running with ball in hand and spotting gaps in defensive lines. He feels the wing is now his home and is relished the opportunity to link up with Carr and Robbie Henshaw in the Connacht back three.

The Dubliner is hoping to get another start, alongside the ‘two really exciting players’, against Cardiff Blues on Friday. Lam is getting an early glimpse of what Healy is made of but the winger is determined to leave a lasting impression.

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Patrick McCarry

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