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Healey embroiled in Twitter spat

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Austin Healey embroiled in heated Twitter spat with renowned sports scientist

Former England international Austin Healey has been drawn into a heated Twitter spat with a world-renowned sports scientist – among others – on the subject of rugby player welfare.

The row erupted following comments Healey made to a number of Twitter accounts, stemming from a questionable Manu Tuilagi clearout on Jacob Stockdale during the Ireland-England game in the Aviva Stadium last weekend.

Healey implied a podcaster called Josh Gardner was a ‘snowflake’ when he questioned the clearout by the heavyweight England midfielder and Leicester Tigers stalwart.

It was at this point in the conversation that renowned sports scientist Ross Tucker got involved. Tucker – a Professor of Exercise Physiology – has worked in a consultancy role with World Rugby in the past on issues surrounding player welfare and anti-doping.

Tucker tweeted: “This expert pundit’s timeline is a study in parochial blindness, and it encapsulates a key element that goes wrong with some of the UK media’s coverage of rugby welfare. It’s just cheerleading dressed up as analysis, hidden behind a flag, smothered in self-righteousness”

Healey responded, saying: “I played rugby for 28 years, I’ve winced commentated on around 700 games every week, I know what I’m talking about in fact I’d go as far to say I’m a world class expert on the sport and that’s not arrogance it’s just fact.”

Tucker replied, saying: “I’ve found that the proclamation of “world class expertise” is best left to a) history, and b) other people. But thank you for validating the point with your response.”

Rugby journalist Sam Peters, fresh from his confrontation with Sale Sharks headcoach Steve Diamond, also lobbed in a few grenades of his own.

Healey hit back: “Sam this is somewhat disrespectful but that’s why you wrote it @btsport has done some amazing things and I take what I do very seriously that’s why I’m the best …go ahead ask around… or just make it up again”.

The row appeared to peter out after that, bringing to an end one of the more memorable rugby Twitter wars in literally weeks.

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Austin Healey embroiled in heated Twitter spat with renowned sports scientist