Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

Healy issues Ireland warning about 'bloody dangerous' England side

(Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Cian Healy insists Grand Slam-chasing Ireland would be silly to underestimate a “bloody dangerous” England side reeling from a record-breaking hammering at the hands of France. Andy Farrell’s men are heavy favourites to complete a Guinness Six Nations clean sweep when Steve Borthwick’s wounded team visit Dublin on Saturday.


England travel across the Irish Sea on the back of their biggest Twickenham loss to Les Bleus – a 53-10 humiliation – which emphatically wiped them out of title contention and sparked a fresh inquest into the team’s ongoing struggles.

Veteran prop Healy believes it would be foolish to judge the visitors on a single result and is wary of the power of the opposition’s forwards as Ireland look to make it a memorable St Patrick’s Day weekend. “You expect a bounce-back,” he said.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

“England rugby is very strong historically, in our area they have a very strong pack. We are not going to look at that (France) game and go, ‘Oh yeah, that’s going to happen for us’. That would be silly of us. We will treat them with the historical respect we treat that pack with because they are bloody dangerous and have very good players and have top-end weight in the pack.

“We will review this properly and you don’t just look at a team’s last game, you look at their season, their players and their club games. You go through everything. There is a lot to pick apart and we will do that, but at the same time there is going to be a lot of focus on ourselves.”


Like influential captain Johnny Sexton, Healy has already won three Six Nations titles, including the Grand Slam in 2018. The 35-year-old, who has 122 Test caps, says there is no danger of complacency with his long-time Leinster and international teammate still around. “Johnny has his own standards and all of us strive to get to those standards and we get absolutely torn into when we don’t, but we try,” said Healy.

“Johnny’s standard is so high, and it has been for so long, that it just drives something special in him. He lives for that successful feeling after a game. The Johnny you see after a game is the most enjoyable Johnny to be around, it’s a different person, it’s class. If anything is going to make me play better, it’s to get to meet that Johnny for a while.”


Sexton drew level with former Ireland fly-half Ronan O’Gara as the Six Nations’ all-time record points scorer during Sunday’s 22-7 success over Scotland, with a tally of 557. “He deserves all the accolades he gets because he is a fierce competitor, an unbelievable professional,” continued Healy. “But he is very aware that team success is the most important thing.

“He could take the points tally and someone down the line will take it off him. But if he takes a victory at the weekend, no one will ever take it off him and it’s something that belongs to him and a special group. That’s the sort of thing that’s going to drive Johnny.”

Healy came off the Ireland bench in the 48th minute at Murrayfield to play a pivotal role in helping the world’s top-ranked nation remain in pole position for the championship crown. With Farrell’s side in danger of dropping to 14 men due to the threat of uncontested scrums following injuries to hookers Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher, the loosehead stepped into the unfamiliar number two role, between Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong.

I went into the middle of two of the best props in the world, so I’m in a relatively good starting place,” he said.“(I thought) ‘just give it a lash, have a shot, nothing to lose’. I don’t mind if someone lifted me up out of the middle of a scrum, I can take that. We ended up with 15 men on the field, when we could have been with 14, and that is the greater cause.”


Join free



Trending on RugbyPass


Be the first to comment...

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

Shaylen 4 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

36 Go to comments
Jon 10 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

36 Go to comments
FEATURE ‘Original Captain America’ Madison Hughes ready for one last Olympic shot ‘Original Captain America’ Madison Hughes ready for one last Olympic shot