Saturday 20 January 2018

Corrigan backs 'world's best' Healy to drive Blues to glory

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Former Leinster captain Reggie Corrigan has labelled Cian Healy "probably the best loosehead in the world" and crucial to the province's chances of dethroning the champions on Sunday evening.

The 26-year-old was rested for last weekend's win over Munster in which the Blues' scrum creaked, but he is expected to be restored to the team for the battle between the last two Heineken Cup winners.

With Jack McGrath and Martin Moore expected to come on to the Leinster bench, it gives Matt O'Connor's side a realistic chance of winning in one of Europe's most fearsome venues.

And Corrigan reckons Healy's presence will be a massive fillip for the travelling Irish side.

"It's so crucial to have a fully fit bench with Marty, Jack and Cian OK," he said after tipping Leinster for a shock win in the Heineken Star Predictor video.


"It was a clever move, an important move to rest him to make sure that he's right and he can have some time to recover afterwards.

"Cian's exceptionally good. His strength, when he first came on the scene – and he'll admit this himself – his scrummaging was a bit inconsistent and he had things to work on and he has done that, but his strength and power are phenomenal.

"He's probably the best loosehead in the world at the moment, it's a big statement, but I firmly believe it."

While Healy is pre-eminent, Corrigan rates his back-up highly.

"No question, Jack McGrath is another one whose physical make-up has everything – both of them have what you need to be a modern-day prop," he said.

"'Freaks' is a word you could use to describe them in terms of their size and their athletic ability. To have the speed and the size on the pitch as well as being able to scrummage, it changes what being a prop is, but that is a modern prop and what they have to be like."

Leinster have the toughest task of any of the Irish provinces, but Corrigan reckons their experience in the competition over the past five seasons will stand to them.

"Obviously, Toulon are such a powerful team," he said. "But it seems like Leinster have the capacity to analyse opponents so well and go to France picking holes in the French and, while Toulon have the power, if you get them asking questions of themselves, they tend to not react that well.

"If the crowd get a bit annoyed and turn on their own team, you're looking at the leaders in the squad and I'm not sure if they have them."

The 47-times-capped Ireland prop is predicting a good weekend for Ireland fans and reckons the defeat to Leinster will bring Munster up to speed for their home clash with Toulouse.


"You're not going to get much more intense than playing Leinster, and Toulouse will be like that," he said as he considered his Heineken Star Predictor choices. "I definitely think Munster will have to be on top of their game to get a result, but I think they will be."

And he reckons Ulster's shock defeat in Cardiff last weekend – which he watched live as a television pundit – won't stop them gaining revenge over Saracens on Saturday evening.

"I think they had one eye on this weekend. Cardiff are a mediocre team and when Ulster scored an early try, it looked for all the world like they were going to smash the Blues," he said of the Pro12 loss.

"And then they just took their foot off the pedal, didn't get involved, were indisciplined and Cardiff didn't miss a kick.

"they have Ruan Pienaar coming back and they are not the same team without him. They should be OK at home, albeit against a very good Saracens team, they should get across the line."

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