| 12.6°C Dublin

Weight off Cian's mind

CIAN HEALY is done with weight experimentation.

Ireland's loosehead prop decided in the pre-season to load on the heavy weights for a period of pumping iron that would make the imagination of most mortals bleed.

He pushed, lifted and powered his weight up to 120 kilos - that is 18st 12.6lbs in old money - in order to withstand the rigour of combat. It didn't suit him.

"I didn't like it. I took it off," he said, in the way a man might take off his coat when coming in out of the rain.

"I wanted to put it up just for scrums to see what the aid there would be and see if the extra weight there would help. It was a lot of heavy lifting in the gym.

"It was very strength orientated. When we got into training and playing rugby, it just felt too heavy and sluggish. So, I had to get rid of it."

He has dropped four kilos to weigh in at a more than respectable 18st 3lbs. At the same time, the dynamism and explosive nature of his game is returning. The problem is he has not worked his way to full fitness - yet.

Healy has played a sum total of 172 minutes of rugby over the span of four matches. His match sharpness is not where he would like it to be.

"It is a work-on. You've got to have time to build it up in games. I have been trying to push that in training without the actual game time. It can't directly replace it. I am just going to have to play a few games to get into it.

"I would like to be able to get 80 minutes here and there. But, I have got to understand and accept how myself and Heinke (van der Merwe) work well together like that. Either one or the other comes in as the impact.

"It is a frustration in a way. At the same time, you get used to it. You know what is expected. You know you can give your full belt for that 60 minutes or whatever.

"You then know that there is someone else coming in that is at such a good level that it is acceptable for you to be able to step back and say 'go on'. It does work quite well for the team.

"At the end of the day, it is (about) the team, not me," he said.

Attention to detail with scrum coach Greg Feek and forwards coach Jono Gibbes will be to the forefront of Leinster's preparations this week.

"We do what we always do, drilling the focus on scrum time, to be on the same mind-frame, working for the same end goal of the scrum.

"The lineouts to be all about the accuracy and how to get them perfect every time. It is the perfection end of it that we want to be getting right."

The Healy-Van der Merwe loose-head double act is, arguably, Leinster's strongest area in competition with the Rob Kearney-Isa Nacewa full-back alternatives.

They will need to be at The Scarlets on Saturday.

LEINSTER INJURY UPDATE

THE UNCERTAIN

Rob Kearney (back) did not train yesterday. Gordon D'Arcy (ribs) did.

THE WOUNDED

McFadden, Strauss and Heinke van der Merwe all needed stitches.

THE FIT

Isaac Boss (arm) came through game time for Leinster A on Saturday.

THE RETURNING

Rhys Ruddock (hip) and Dave Kearney (hip) should be involved in Leinster's British & Irish Cup match against Pontypridd.


Privacy