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Healy prepared for War'

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Leinster's Cian Healy and Richardt Strauss in action during squad training. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Leinster's Cian Healy and Richardt Strauss in action during squad training. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Leinster's Cian Healy and Richardt Strauss in action during squad training. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

LEINSTER loose-head Cian Healy is relishing the prospect of confronting what he sees as "the bruisers" and "big-hitters" of the Glasgow Warriors in the PRO12 League semi-final at the RDS on Saturday.

"It is a strong scrum. They put a good bit of work on the down-and-in (approach) on the loose-head. But it is nothing we haven't dealt with before," said Healy.

"I always send it back around to what we can do against them. We will build on that. We have a pretty big scrum session on Tuesday."

It is just as well the rested trio of scrum leader Mike Ross, Jamie Heaslip and Kevin McLaughlin and the slight injury concerns Gordon D'Arcy, Isaac Boss and Dominic Ryan should all come back into the reckoning.

Another one of Leinster's prospective British and Irish Lions Seán O'Brien has recovered from cramp to leave coach Joe Schmidt with a well-stacked hand to play.

It was clear from Healy's perspective that Leinster's defence will have to improve considerably against a Glasgow outfit that should field a dangerous back three in Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tim Visser.

"Defensively, they're strong and their record stands. But it is something where we are going to have to back ourselves too – defence – and then being able to crack theirs."

Healy is keen on keeping his eyes trained on what is straight in front of him, not what waits in Australia next month.

Unveiling

In fact, it was the Ireland prop who had to keep his head when others around him were losing theirs as he watched the unveiling of the Lions on the television at his family home last Tuesday.

"I watched it with my folks. I was hoping for it, not expecting it. I was nervous enough, all very on edge in the sitting room," he said.

"It is still a few weeks (away), so you can't jump up and start getting fired up. I was more trying to calm my mam and my sister down. That was about it."

The Leinster contingent of six and Ireland total of nine will provide comfort for the process of getting to bond with those he has only known as enemies on the field of battle.

"You can make friends, but having someone like Jamie (Heaslip), Drico' (Brian O'Driscoll) and all them, who have been there and done it, it is a nice little helper," said Healy.

While Munster's Conor Murray and Paul O'Connell will have to bide their idle time, Healy has the focus of the PRO12 and Amlin Cup to keep him concentrated.

"I am trying to not let myself run away with it. It is not actually that hard because the games are big and there is a lot of work going into them with study and focus," he said.

"It is something that parks off easy enough. The odd evening you'd let it slip into your mind and you push it back out."

Besides, Healy will have enough on his plate in the coming years, dealing with the progress of Jack McGrath, who fared rather well against Wales' cornerstone Adam Jones last Friday.

"He is quality. He has been working away with us for a long time. He is one of those ultimate professional players. He does all his study and does all his work and keeps plugging away."

The decision of Springbok Heinke van der Merwe to make the change to France and the progressive mindset of coach Joe Schmidt meant McGrath has been thrown into games other coaches might not have considered.

"The move of Heinke will be big for Jack, getting more game time," said Healy.

"With a prop, it is not only age, it is how much you play. That is where you learn. You learn with the big, tough games, like the weekend, going up against Adam Jones. That stands to you."

Healy knows what he is talking about there. He had to take his share of beatings against gnarled veterans on the road to being nominated as a British and Irish Lion.


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