Sunday 18 November 2018

Healy sets sights on number one ranking ahead of crucial month

Ireland prop Healy. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Ireland prop Healy. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Will Slattery and Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Cian Healy is targeting top spot in the world rugby rankings as Ireland prepare for key November Tests against Argentina and New Zealand.

Ireland have reached their highest ever ranking of number two under Joe Schmidt after a year that has already seen the team claim a Six Nations Grand Slam and a Test series victory in Australia.

Speaking on The Left Wing podcast on Independent.ie, Ireland prop Healy said that claiming the world number one ranking is a big ambition of his - and it continues against Argentina on Saturday.

"The next few games give you ranking points," Healy said. "Your goal is to get to number one in the world. You have to climb that ladder slowly and every result is on that.

"I'm looking forward to this one (Argentina) because if we mess this up, our ranking is going to go down. Then we are a little bit further away from that top spot."

Meanwhile, Munster's Andrew Conway is backing himself to fill Rob Kearney's boots after Ireland's first-choice full-back sat out training yesterday.

The Leinster man has a shoulder injury and looks set to miss Saturday's clash and Conway is battling with Jordan Larmour for the No 15 shirt.

The Dubliner started last weekend's win over Italy on the wing and could continue in that role, but he is also an option to move in-field. "Of course, yeah," he said if he would be comfortable at full-back.

"There is more pressure. It is an international game, it is a different ball game. Just that step up from European rugby. The margin for error is smaller, the margin for you doing absolutely everything you can is probably more ... there is more of a microscope on you. So it would be great to get that opportunity."

Subscribe to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's Rugby podcast, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.

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