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Healy Relishes Competition For Places

Healy Relishes Competition For Places

After a 40-9 victory over Samoa last Saturday, Ireland and Cian Healy now face an Australia side coming off the back of their own impressive win against Italy.

But Cian Healy, who replaced fellow Leinster prop Jack McGrath in the second half of the Samoa game, believes Ireland have what it takes to overcome the Wallabies and make it two wins out of two in the GUINNESS Series.

Speaking about the squad’s approach to the upcoming clashes with Australia and New Zealand, Healy said: “(We’re taking it) game by game. We are going out to win them all.

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“It is not about hoping to do well against Australia and hoping to maybe come close to New Zealand. We are a team that look for success in everything, so the best way to take that is game by game.

“(We’re going to win by) sticking to our plan. We have been guilty of getting into a rut and trying to pull magic out and that is when you fall short of what you are trying to do.

“We have been fairly sharp on our detail and looking for those small things. We are pretty happy that if we stick to that we will be alright.”

After an ankle injury in the summer cost the prop a Test berth for the British & Irish Lions, one might expect Healy to have added incentive heading into Ireland’s second November outing, but he states that the summer is behind him.

“I’m not really counting the summer thing as anything. It is always great to get to play against one of the Southern Hemisphere teams and they pose a big threat in the pack, the tackle and it’s the type of game I like.

“It is usually a fast game (against Australia), usually pretty hard hitting and I’m looking forward to it. I had to park that (the Lions tour) and move on.”

While Healy missed the first part of the season, McGrath was laying down the gauntlet to the established front row forward.

The 24-year-old’s hard work paid off with a man-of-the-match performance in his first Ireland appearance against Samoa and although Healy is now facing increasing competition for the number 1 jersey, he is extremely pleased for his team-mate.

“It’s been great watching Jack because when he got included he just constantly plugged away and working on the finer details. He has constantly plugged away at it, wants to learn and asking for stuff,” explained Healy.

“Then we are put together in the gym or we are with each other in scrummaging, we’re tagging in and out. We are constantly learning off each other.

“It is not like I’m not learning anything off him as well. We are bouncing things off each other and what to do different week in and out. It’s a nice little team we are getting up.”

“Yeah, bloody right,” continued Healy when asked about Test newcomer McGrath adding some competition between them, “but that’s healthy. I’m hoping that is going to push me in my game as well.

“When there is someone that good around as well, you’ve got to be really on form. If you slip up with how you are playing there is someone there to step in.”

Commenting on Ireland’s performance against Samoa, he added: “A lot of our go forward was good, but there were a few defensive little breakdowns that we missed out on and a few little things that we were looking to do. Overall we can take a few positives from it

“We’ve been working on what we’ve wanted to improve on, but it is mostly about getting the game-plan right for the next game and thinking about that going into it.”

Ireland dominated Samoa up front but after Australia’s 50-20 triumph over Italy in Turin, Healy knows they will need to improve. And while he hopes to make a line break or two, he is concentrating on what will bring them success on Saturday night.

“I like getting on the ball and getting a run and stuff but that is what you get to do when you get everything else done,” insisted the 26-year-old from Clontarf.

“It’s kinda first priority – getting the rucks done, scrums, lineouts, all that – and if I have any energy left I’ll get onto a ball or two and try and make a run.

“We are confident in how we are going and pretty happy with our pack and things like balance in the scrum and how we are setting up.

“That has been a big work-on for us in the last while. Coming up against them (Australia), they have a big pack, big fellas. They had a few good scrums against England, so we are going to have to be pretty sharp not to be turned over there.”