World News – GB – Centurion Cian Healy still walks to the beat of his own drum


Cian Healy: “Players like Cian brought a different dimension and character to the team, and of course, he was a different model of rugby player than we might have seen; speed, footwork, big, strong and front row play! »Said Michael Cheika Photography: Dan Sheridan / Inpho

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Jamie Heaslip distinctly remembers sitting in Cian Healy’s old kitchen in Clontarf, before its renovation, in the summer of 2015, and the two pals having a few cans of beer

« He was talking about ‘The Fish’, and The Fish was his hand, because it was like a dead fish, » Heaslip said, referring to Healy’s right hand, which had lost all feel after a disc operation in his neck Healy was 27, 51 caps and facing what seemed like a fairly inevitable retirement

« He was told by then that he was done He said, » You know what I’m going to try I’m pretty young Basically he had nothing to lose And that is the character of the guy I don’t know what people really think of him but he is a very focused and determined person. Once he thinks about something, what he can accomplish is quite remarkable « 

Healy joins Heaslip today as the only eighth Irish player and 66th in rugby history to reach a century of testing This is the first time since Heaslip last played in March 2017 when he thought, ‘Oh man, what would I give to be there with him?’

They usually stood next to each other for the national anthem, and they usually shared the same room Heaslip is thrilled for Healy’s parents, Don and Caroline, who are « his biggest fans in the world. world ”, his sister Adrienne and his childhood sweetheart and wife Laura, who is expecting their first child

« It’s a difficult time because like the others, he’s in a bubble He’s not home with his pregnant wife for two weeks and it’s a huge time for his family, and it’s a type of family type « 

The Healys are from Clontarf and Healy never left his parish Andy Kenny was Healy’s coach when he entered Belvedere College at age 13, and again during Healy’s three years in the school senior cup team

« He was a TBS player in his fourth year and he was one of the best on the team at the time. He was exceptional, a wrecking ball »

The following season, 2004-05, Healy stood out again when Belvedere won the Senior Cup for the first time since Ollie Campbell’s team in 1972 Paul O’Donohoe and Ian Keatley were half-backs and Eoin O’Malley was in midfield as they upset Blackrock 16-10 in the final

Healy played the whore that season primarily to attract his best players to the field, and an early moment in that 2005 final stands out for Kenny

« We had a move that started Cian and he went through Vasily Artemyev He just ran him over and it set the tone The boys all got a lift of that

« He was also amazing in the gym We didn’t have any S&C coaches at the time, but he lifted more than most professional players as a school player »

Healy, O’Donohoe and Keatley all played big roles in Ireland’s 2007 Grand Slam Under-20 team alongside Sean O’Brien, Tommy O’Donnell, Darren Cave, Keith Earls and Felix Jones

Michael Cheika gave Healy his Leinster debut as a replacement for the Border Reivers in May 2007 when he was 19 In less than two years, Healy became Leinster’s first choice at just 21 in the race for their first Heineken Champions Cup victory in 2009

« You always knew he was going to be the man, it was pretty obvious in a fair way It was more about timing his race, and he actually timed it well, » said Cheika yesterday from Sydney, where he helps Mario Ledesma prepare the Pumas for the rugby championship

“Players like Cian brought a different dimension and character to the team, and of course, he was a different model of a rugby player than what we might have seen; speed, footwork, big, strong and frontline play! « 

« Because he’s so powerful, to endure 100 tests with all those provincial rugby matches (222) is absolutely incredible

« He overcame a lot of injuries He stayed relevant, as the game changed and different coaches asked him things, and he just got down to business. You never heard much from him, but he has remained at the forefront of the game for all these years « 

Healy was just 22 when Declan Kidney made his Test debut in the 20-20 draw with Australia at Croke Park in November 2009 Brian O’Driscoll scored his 100th test by scoring a try of the final scrum of the match – Healy played the full 80 minutes – to ensure the draw

Cheika remembers witnessing Healy and Kidney’s first meeting that season at the Leinster office

« Declan said something to him like, ‘Are you going to’ Uni ‘or do you have any interests outside of rugby? « Cian said, » Yeah, I love to paint « Declan thought he meant paint and decorate Of course Cian meant art, paint on a canvas It was hilarious I had to explain to Declan, » No, he talks about works of art Creativity At the time, it was really funny « 

« And I guess it’s Cian He brought a new dynamic, being a DJ and so in his music », says Cheika « He ran to the beat of his own drum, without a doubt, in a sport that tries often change you »

Healy has a passion for knife making and for dogs He has a German Shepherd, Hank, and a Pug, Ted Healy is also an avid cook, especially at his barbeque, and enjoys his gardening

« Food, start to finish, basically, although I don’t think he went all the way Peter O’Mahony on it, » says Heaslip « But he’s important for his health and fitness He’s a freak I’d say his body fat is 11/12 percent, weighing around 116 kilograms At home, in the back of his house, he built a sauna, gym and bath of ice, so as not to miss a beat while locking, and it swims in the sea « 

However, another low point in Healy’s career was the first match of the 2013 British Irish Lions & tour in Australia, when he pulled out a hamstring

« He spent the whole night in the team room trying to freeze his leg, hoping it wasn’t as bad as they were probably going to tell him, » Heaslip recalls.


There was also a spell, in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, when Healy became Jack McGrath’s understudy in Leinster and Ireland

“But he was never disappointed about it,” says Heaslip “He was very determined to get back to number one, but you have to remember he probably shouldn’t have gone to the World Cup 2015 with ‘The Fish’ as ​​we called him It was a long journey But he stayed focused and was very positive about it The cream still rises to the top « 

As Heaslip says, Healy redefined the role of a prop, including being pretty fast « Fast enough? » Heaslip yells incredulously « He’s faster than half the full backs over 10 yards! » His problem is actually endurance, and he knows it and he works hard at it. But he’s a power athlete « 

Heaslip recounts a weight session on this Lions tour before Healy’s injury and the propeller silently watching a satisfied Heaslip lifting 120kg

« He said, » Are you finished? « I said to myself: » Yeah, yeah Manu Tuilagi was also watching He saw « Church » go up and warm up on the 120 kg And then I saw him and Tuilagi adjust I do not know what There was no more plates to put on the bloody bar! He could do that, but he could also leave me for dead for 10 meters « 

« He doesn’t lift as heavy as he used to be because you hit a point of diminishing returns with this stuff, and he’s very aware of that. But in other words, I’ve never seen anyone, in all my time, squat more or sit more than him and I rubbed shoulders with mountain men « 

Stuart Lancaster admits: “He was a player we always referred to as a danger due to his sheer physical power, melee power, but also his ability to carry on the loose So when I came it was fascinating to coach him And in fact since I’ve been in Leinster I can count on the one hand how many practice sessions he missed – not to mention the games So his durability, his ability to take care of himself and get the most out of his body so to speak, and to perform at the highest level, is amazing »

« I don’t know the story he tells, but the story we tell is quite simple but embarrassing. There was a video for ’50 Cent’ and the song was PjeMP, and the music video, at back when videos were a thing, presented all these guys like old school pimps At the end they hold all these goblets with diamonds and all say, « Church » And he starts saying it all the time, in training and in meetings So we all started calling her Church, and it stuck

« Except her parents, everyone calls her Church Even my daughter, Harper, who is her goddaughter, she is two and a half years old and she calls her Church »

Heaslip also describes Healy as « definitely one of the best humans I know He’s a gentle soul He’s different »

“He’s a fantastic guy; the most generous guy you’ve ever met, ”said Paul O’Connell this week

« I remember one day we were at camp and he had a new pair of recovery tights I admired them and said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know they were on sale’ Came to camp the next day, and he bought me a pair They were sitting on my bed He would give you the shirt on his back Besides being, I think, the greatest prop of all time in Ireland, she is also an incredibly kind person « 

No less than the four newbies last week, for whom the notion of 100 selections must sound like a fantasy, too bad there won’t be a crowd with Healy’s family among them in Paris tonight

But they will all be connected to their homes in Clontarf « The Church » has been proud, its family and its parish

Monday – Sunday October 26 – November 1

Cian Healy, Leinster Rugby, Ireland, Six Nations Championship

News from around the world – UK – Centurion Cian Healy still walks to the beat of his own drum



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