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“They’re Gone For Me Now” – Healy Refuses To Dwell On Past Victories

Cian Healy

Ireland loose forward Cian Healy has insisted that facing New Zealand in a World Cup quarter-final will be “a different kettle of fish” to their previous meetings. 

Healy has featured in all of Ireland’s Test games against the All Blacks since making his debut for the senior side in 2009. Of those nine games, the Leinster man has only emerged on the winning side twice, in Chicago in 2016 and last year’s meeting in Dublin.

Given his record, it’s no surprise that Healy is not paying any attention to past results as they prepare for Saturday’s titanic showdown.

I don’t look back on any of them, they’re gone for me now and none of them have been at a World Cup, so they don’t matter an awful lot.

“It’s going to be a different kettle of fish at a World Cup. They’ve gone the whole way a couple of times and we haven’t, so it’s a huge challenge to us and we’re looking forward to it.”

However, Healy has picked up some tips on how to face New Zealand along the way. He is fully aware that Ireland must perform to the best of their ability for the full 80 minutes if they are to give themselves a chance against the best team in the world.

“Every test you’re learning about yourself and I suppose a couple of the earlier ones you’d probably understand how good they are at finishing a game for the final 20 minutes. That’s probably what sets them apart from a lot from teams.

“You need a longer performance than 60 minutes – it has to be a complete game performance, screwed on for the whole thing. They so dangerous – if  you have a blip for a period of the match they’ll take their shots.”

Ireland have been dealt a blow this week with the news that centre Bundee Aki will miss the quarter-final after he was handed a three-match ban for his dangerous tackle on Ulupano Seuteni during Ireland’s win over Samoa.

The IRFU have yet to decide whether to appeal the ruling but in the meantime, Aki continues to train with the squad in order to help preparations.

Healy insists that others are ready to step up in his absence.

“It’s tough for him and we felt for him a bit. He’s a good player and adds a lot to the team – but anyone else who is ready to step in is equally as good. We’ve got a great squad at the moment and we’re very confident in everyone else.

“Bundee showed he’s a squad man and trained well today – he put everyone under pressure and kept working towards the greater good of the team. That’s what you want from a scenario like that – he’s not sitting in his room with his head between his hands, he’s working hard for the team to go forward.”

Ireland have never reached the semi-final stage of a Rugby World Cup and to do so would ensure that both Joe Schmidt and this group of players will forever be written into the history books.

However, no one needs to remind the players of the magnitude of Saturday’s game, according to Healy. The 32-year-old insists that it will be the biggest game of his career.

“Yeah, definitely.  [It’s a] do-or-die game. I think everyone understands that and knows the position we are in and the opportunity of what we have to do.

“It is not a case of looking to get people to buy-in. Everyone wants in. Everyone is trying to get in. That’s going to cause big challenges for the coaches, to pick that team, because everyone has put their hand up.

“Everyone wants to be involved.”

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Author: Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. You can contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter