Healy has Pumas in his sights and vows best is yet to come
Cian Healy has admitted the decision on whether or not he will go on Ireland’s summer tour of Argentina will be made by the Leinster and Irish medical staff.
The prop has had repeated ankle issues over the last year but he made it clear that if it was up to him, he would be on the plane to South America in June.
Healy was forced home from last summer’s Lions tour early having been stretchered off with an ankle injury against Western Force.
“I wouldn’t be too happy to miss out on the tour. It’s two Irish Test matches and a trip to Argentina. There’s an opportunity to rest after that,” said the 26-year-old.
“It’s being left to the medical staff to decide whether to rest or not. I have said to him (Joe Schmidt) that it’s in my interest to go and that I don’t want to be missing out on anything.”
The Clontarf man’s ankles have been heavily strapped in recent weeks but he shrugged off the notion that he has been playing through the pain barrier.
“It’s just precaution. I say no movement is good movement with the ankles.”
“I’ve been on a rehab thing for a while just to keep them ticking over. If you do damage to an ankle or anything and give it a quick rest period and then keep training on it, it’s going to swell.
“It’s all about maintaining that. Structurally everything is fine,” he maintained.
Healy has had to do a lot of rehab work – an aspect of the being a professional rugby player that he hates – but he has still found time to break a couple of Leinster gym records.
His new personal record of bench-pressing 185kg as well as his squatting record – that he says “no one has come near” – is something that he is proud of but how that translates on the rugby pitch is even more important.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction in being able to lift a lot of weight.
“If your legs are able to lift whatever weight, your chest and back will be the same because you’ve got such a strong core. You should be able to transfer it over to scrummaging. But a lot of people can’t.
“There’s a lot of props out there who are freakishly strong but they don’t know how to scrummage. I’ve got it to a decent level where I’ve figured out a way of transferring the gym work.”
Despite his prolonged periods spent undergoing rehab programmes, Healy is in a good place mentally and he admitted that there is still more to come – a frightening thought for any opposing prop.
“I’m getting a nice run of games but I still don’t feel like I’m at my fittest. I still feel like there’s a lot more I can get out of myself.
“There are elements that I’m just not happy with. The recovery and the speed of the recovery – the quicker I can make that, the better.”
Coping with recovery is something that comes with age and despite Healy being in the prime of his career, he is fully aware of the demands on a modern day loose-head prop.
“Drico and the lads have some craic off me because they constantly rub in how much crap I eat. He keeps telling me that one day my metabolism will catch up with me and I am getting heavier.
“The idea is to keep as lean as possible and not get a belly,” he laughed.
“I still pig out but I just don’t eat as many sweets. I try to limit it because I really do enjoy healthy eating and cooking.
“When I was 22, I was getting four or five Dominos pizzas a week. It was literally do what you want. But I have to try and be a professional rugby player as well.”