Cian Healy's counter-ruck from hell takes out three shell-shocked Scarlets players 2 years ago

Cian Healy's counter-ruck from hell takes out three shell-shocked Scarlets players

Given the fact that this arrived just after he was recalled into the game, you really have to hand it to the Leinster prop.

2017/18 was the year of the comeback from Cian Healy. The loose-head went from backing up Jack McGrath, and watching him make the British & Irish Lions squad, to wrenching back that No.1 jersey and clinging on.

Last season was Healy's best playing return for Leinster since 2012/13, the year he made the Lions Tour to Australia. In 2017/18, he started 12 games and came off the bench in seven others. He started the Guinness PRO14 and Champions Cup finals and won back that role for Joe Schmidt's Ireland too.

From a personal perspective, he was in a great place. From a team perspective, Leinster and Ireland won every trophy available.

Healy will turn 31 in October but he really looks to be in the prime of his playing career. Against Scarlets, on Saturday, he was called back onto the pitch when his replacement, Peter Dooley, went off injured. Within 60 seconds he was moshing men again.

Looking back on the game, which Leinster lost 23-21, Healy had one hell of an outing:

  • 10 carries for 12 metres gained (one defender beaten)
  • 11 tackles completed (0 missed)
  • 12 scrum involvements (5 from 6 won on Leinster feed)
  • 9 maul involvements (8 won)
  • 1 turnover won

That turnover was won late in the day when Healy's weary muscles must have been already seizing up and it was one of the best bits of counter-rucking you are likely to see.

With Scarlets two points to the good, scrum-half Gareth Davies was attempting to run down the clock by feeding his forwards with one-out carries. Subs Werner Kruger and Lewis Rawlins - a combined 36-stone of pack-horse grunt - were flopped over the ball-carrier and giving Davies time to assess his options.

Advertisement

Healy wasn't standing for it and climbed into the breakdown, counter-rucking with brute force that took Davies out while he was at it. Andrew Porter and James Tracy waded in to assist and a vital, late turnover was secured.

Unfortunately for Healy and Leinster, they could not make the possession count and they slipped to their first defeat of the season.

Post-match, Leinster boss Leo Cullen spared few feelings in his analysis of the game.

Up next for the reigning champions are Dragons (away) and Edinburgh (home) before an inter-pro stand and onwards into the Heineken Champions Cup.