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Monday 24 April 2017

Healy: 'We're not going to get caught on the hop this time'

Cian Healy in action during Leinster squad training Picture: Sportsfile
Cian Healy in action during Leinster squad training Picture: Sportsfile

It is easy to understand how Tadhg Furlong has emerged as a serious international scrummager.

He has been taught and tortured by the best in what has been a long, drawn-out apprenticeship.

The evidence is recorded from South Africa in June through to the November internationals and on into Northampton Saints last Friday night.

It is party down to the influence of Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty and Ireland's Greg Feek.

It is largely down to having to engage in work every week against Ireland's two best loose-head props Jack McGrath and Cian Healy.

The former is more the steady, gradually overpowering prop from reset to reset.

In contrast, Healy is a one-off, explosive athlete still coming back to his best this season.

"He (Furlong) has been scrummaging very well for quite a while," said Healy.

"We picked up the heat a bit in Leinster training this season and at the back end of last season with the scrummaging. There's been a high focus put onto it.

"When you've that many reps done, and always against good opposition, you build a confidence in what you're doing.

"It is easy enough to see where he's coming from."

Northampton will make the trek to The Aviva without England captain Dylan Hartley and with England tight-head Kieran Brookes. "He's a good operator, a big lad. Someone of his quality is going to have an influence in it," conceded Healy.

"We will stick to what we were doing. We don't need to change too many tactics to deal with players coming in or out."

Healy had to stomach the 2013 about-turn from the roasting of Northampton in Franklin's Gardens (40-7) to being roasted at the scrum, maul and lineout at the national stadium.

"It was hard to take," he recalled, even though injury kept him out at the time.

"We're not going to get caught on the hop this time.

"It took a lot of reviewing and a lot of soul-searching to figure out what happened from the week before.

"We have a fair system now in how we deal with it, how we break everything down and move on.

"We pick out what we want to work on and have a very brief look at what went well.

"You can't let it slip," he emphasised.

"You have to stay focused on the job at hand and forget about what you've done before and treat is as completely new."

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