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25th Feb 2015

Cian Healy reveals Jamie Heaslip’s nickname and who will start No.8 against England

That's that cleared up

Patrick McCarry

Jim is out. Jordi is in.

Cian Healy was in fine form this afternoon, at Ireland camp in Carton House, as he looked ahead to this Sunday’s Six Nations encounter with England.

Sporting a stitched up raspberry [cut] above his right eye, Healy stressed his desire to start for Ireland following his recent outings, for province and country, off the bench. “The body has been feeling good… I got a good blow-out for Leinster [against Zebre]. If called upon, I’m ready to go…. I always want to start; that is why you play rugby. It will be tough to budge Jack McGrath.’

The prop also gave an insight to the likely replacement for injured Ireland No.8 Jamie Heaslip. The Leinster captain will miss Sunday’s match after he was kneed in the back by France lock Pascal Papé.

Healy says, ‘It’s always a concern to lose one of the lads, especially one as influential as Jim.

‘But, to have Jordi Murphy coming in, and have such a strong foot, stepping forward, from him. He has been in the [No.8] position already so it is good for everyone’s trust. It is good for everyone to know that. The way we’ve all been training that [Murphy’s experience] is a good strength.’

In fairness to Healy, it was always likely that Murphy would step in for his Leinster teammate given the decent job he did against Italy, in Rome, on February 7. Still, that training ground insight and word on ‘Jim’ Heaslip were interesting tidbits from the camp.

Jamie Heaslip and Jordi Murphy celebrate with the RBS 6 Nations trophy 15/3/2014

Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby tipped the selection hat further towards Murphy, rather than Roger Wilson, Peter O’Mahony or Sean O’Brien.

He said, ‘I just think Jordi is a good footballer, he reads the game really well, he runs great lines, he can hit the gainline and he can muscle up but also get through tackles and offload, and he has that quality.

‘I saw him play in Coventry against Waps and I thought he had a fantastic game and he’s continued that type of form. It’s a little bit quicker there’s a little bit less room at international level but he’s a good enough footballer and we’ve already started to see that adjustment from European rugby to Test rugby.’

Looking ahead to the match, Healy comments, ‘It is something you hear a lot about. The game is built up a lot by your mates. It is one of those things that you play down yourself. You say, ‘Ah it’s another game’ but, out on the field, you’ll know you are in the heat of battle.’

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