Healy: 'Dark day' in scrum taught me a lot
Leinster and Ireland prop Cian Healy has rediscovered his best form in 2018 after claiming a hat-trick of medals but he still remembers one game early in his career that served as a massive learning experience, writes Will Slattery.
The 31-year-old won a Six Nations Grand Slam, the Champions Cup and the PRO14 in a fairytale 2017/18 campaign, and has started the current season in strong form.
Healy is in line to face Argentina and the All Blacks as Ireland continue their preparation towards the 2019 World Cup, with the powerful loosehead one of the country's key men.
Healy has been one of Ireland's best players since bursting on the scene more than 10 years ago, but recalls one tough early experience that helped him develop as a prop.
After winning the Heineken Cup in 2009, Leinster travelled to France for a daunting test against Toulouse in the semi-final the following year, with Healy chosen to wear the No 1 jersey.
However, the youngster was taken off by head coach Michael Cheika after just 30 minutes, with the Toulouse scrum causing Leinster all sorts of problems.
Speaking on the Left Wing, independent.ie's rugby podcast, Healy acknowledged that that match was a "dark" day in his career.
"That cut deep," he said. "I was only talking to Fogs (Leinster assistant coach John Fogarty) a couple of weeks ago when we were back over there in Toulouse.
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"I was like, 'Jesus, that was a dark game'. I came back on after 60 minutes or so and did all right but when you are a young prop getting called off, it's a pain in your head.
"I was getting crucified (in the scrum). "Those lessons teach you a lot about 'sink or swim'.
"In the front-row, you can stay in the fight and go back a bit and completely capitulate. It's hard to understand if you haven't done it."
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