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Cian Healy: I'm on way back and want my place

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Cian Healy

Cian Healy

Leinster Rugby players Dave Kearney, Cian Healy and Jack Conan surprised 30 children from three wonderful charities at a Christmas party at the Conrad Dublin Hotel today

Leinster Rugby players Dave Kearney, Cian Healy and Jack Conan surprised 30 children from three wonderful charities at a Christmas party at the Conrad Dublin Hotel today

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Cian Healy

Cian Healy has Jack McGrath and Castres Olympique and England in his sights.

Friendly fire can be the most dangerous and that is what is heading McGrath's way.

Healy is battling back from a severely torn hamstring that required surgery at the end of September.

He sees McGrath as the man in possession of the jerseys that were once his exclusive property and Healy wants to regain his number one status for club and country.

"I've been out now for a long enough period. It is a position Jack has taken over. It is his to stand there and fight for now," said Healy, at Children's Charities Christmas party, hosted by the Conrad Hotel yesterday.

"I will be going in to challenge for it. It is friendly competition. Of course, we will be going out to take each other's shirt.

GOOD UNIT

"At the end of the day, we're mates and we do have a good unit we work in. Besides any brutality on the pitch, we'll shake each others' hands walking off."

When Healy tore his hamstring away from the bone, it came by innocuous means.

"I was just running. I got my heel stuck in the ground. I went over the top of my knee and blew it out. It was sore. I haven't felt pain like it. The worst of it was the following two to three weeks.

"I was reliant on my mum and my sister coming up to the house doing everything for me.

"That was probably the worst part of it."

Healy came back in record time from surgery for syndesmosis to his ankle last season.

He has set a level of super-human expectation in the rehabilitation room.

"It's all new to me. I've never torn a hamstring or hurt one before," he said.

"It is all about testing the waters of what I will be able to do, even being restrictive in letting me run short distances or slow distances.

"I am still holding back that extra bit. There's no pushing too hard."

Still, he is well on the road to recovery and confounding the initial prognosis of being out of action for anything up to five months, even missing the Six Nations.

A target has been set: "I said Castres. But I still don't know," he revealed. "I haven't tried to sprint or to do any change of direction. So far, so good. It feels pretty decent when running.

"It's killing me. It's been a long auld period, the longest I've been out. It will be good to get back in. But, I've got to ease myself back into the training side of it."Ideally, I don't go in too fast and blow it out.

"That would mean his recovery would amount to 16 weeks, or ten days under four months. It would be no surprise. There has always been something bionic about this man.

The Six Nations appears to be well within his comeback compass, as long as he doesn't endure any unforeseen setbacks.

buckled

He had to watch as Leinster were buckled at the scrum by Harlequins in The Champions Cup and as McGrath was withdrawn looking beaten-up and just exhausted.

He has had to carry the load of two men with Healy out of the game.

Is it beginning to tell? "I think when you are waiting around to get that opportunity, every game that comes to you is a good one.

"When I stepped into that same situation a few years ago, I couldn't have had more games thrown at me.

"It was a continuous test of where you can get to and get your mark set.

"You can only presume that's how Jack's feeling. He's got big aspirations and he's not going to be going into games thinking he's feeling tired.

"A player like that is relishing the challenge."

There has been much ado about the rise of Joe Marler to the Harlequins captaincy and as England's most likely number one for the Six Nations.

"It doesn't really matter to me," said Healy.

Not long ago the most feared loose-head in the Six Nations, he has quickly become Ireland's forgotten man, all because of the worthy work done by McGrath in November.

He could come back as Ireland's secret weapon, a new, improved version of himself, especially when England come to Dublin.

"It's handy enough if they forget about me and I come back and take their scrum apart.

It's all about getting back to the right place and getting picked. I'll tip away at my own stuff underneath and let them do all they want."


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