Chris Paterson says he is a big fan of Ben Healy, the young Munster out-half on Glasgow Warriors’ radar. Healy has delivered a number of impressive performances for Munster in recent months but is out of contract at the end of the season, and with all contract talks in Ireland currently on hold there is concern that one of the country’s most promising young players cured be lured away.
The 21-year-old is Scottish-qualified and has become a target for Glasgow, who recently confirmed that out-half Adam Hastings is joining Gloucester.
And Paterson, who started his career at 10 and won over 100 caps for Scotland, says he believes Healy has all the tools necessary to become a top-class out-half.
“Yeah I’ve seen a lot of him and I’ve been really impressed with him,” Paterson said.
“I’ve seen him play for the U20s over the last couple of years as well. There are a lot of good young 10s in Ireland, over the last two or three years with the U20s there’s been about three 10s [who have impressed]. There’s a depth of quality there.
“I think they were all quite similar but this season Ben Healy has probably overtaken them, and certainly Harry Byrne has had a lot of success for Leinster as well.
“It almost looks like there is this young crop of 10s driving each other on, and I’ve been really impressed with Ben Healy in terms of his physicality. He’s a big lad. He takes the ball to the line, he kicks well, he organises a game well, he looks unfazed.
“We’ve seen his goal-kicking, and I do love the fact that, for use of a better phrase, he just puts the ball down and kicks it. I love that approach to goal-kicking. He’s obviously got his process and his routine, but it is just: bang, down and kick it. And such a pure strike. It sometimes brings a smile to my face when you see some of the other routines that are a wee bit longer. He just bangs it over.
“But he’s dealt with the pressure well. JJ Hanrahan played really well at the weekend for Munster, so he’s got a fight on his hands there.
“I read he’s Scottish qualified as well. But yeah, as a fan looking, and a former 10 and somebody who works with young players, I’ve been impressed by him.”
Healy is still a member of the Munster Academy and is not on a senior contract, but has played seven times for the first team this season, including starts against Edinburgh, Cardiff Blues and Glasgow.
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And Paterson believes his career would continue in the right trajectory if he did make the move to Scotland.
“It’s what is right for the individual, where they can develop, where they feel they want to go. What is right for them personally?” Paterson added.
“I think he would develop well in Scotland as well [as if he stayed at Munster]. I think he’s got the raw materials, wherever he ends up he playing rugby, to be an influential player.
“Almost every game he’s played in, he’s had an influence on it. For a young player, [looking at] consistency, young players can have that impact in a game or another game and then maybe not so much for a week. But every game he has started, he’s had an impact.
“I remember watching a game at the start of the season against Cardiff, and the way Munster played that day was different to how they played maybe in other games, and he was controlling all of that.
“So I could see him being a success wherever he ends up. A really good young talent.”
Chris Paterson will be part of the Premier Sports team for coverage of the 1872 Cup clash between Edinburgh and Glasgow on Jan 2.
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