Tuesday 16 January 2018

England legend Austin Healey tips Leinster to take Toulon scalp

Austin Healey
Austin Healey

What does it say about Leinster that there are those outside these shores holding more belief in the province than some of those right at the heart of the club?

In fairness, supporters and former Leinster players are working off a week-to-week, evidence-based menu, the Dragons becoming the latest to dent their belief.

The advent of BT Sport has allowed an ear into the combined rugby knowledge of former England internationals Lawrence Dallaglio, Ben Kay and Austin Healey in the channel's flagship programme 'Rugby Tonight'.

The latter, Healey, sees the removal of a certain Welshman with a shoulder dislocation as the vital difference between Leinster and Toulon in Sunday's Champion Cup semi-final.

"I think Leinster will beat Toulon without Halfpenny," he said simply.

While Dallaglio ultimately favours Toulon, the former number eight holds the opinion Leinster "have a very good chance."

The unspoken reason is the change at fly-half, the demise of Jonny Wilkinson giving way to the use of the riddle that is Frederic Michalak.

"They've got a strong scrum, the likes of Seán O'Brien, Cian Healy back to their best."

Toulon will move to the surrounds of Marseille's Stade Velodrome where Leinster will feel less suffocated.

"The atmosphere is going to be super. It's a great, great stadium. It's like an old amphitheatre. It's a special place to play and you can thrive off that," said Kay.

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