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Brian O'Driscoll And ROG Take The Piss Out Of Austin Healey's Denial Of Famous Fight Story

Brian O'Driscoll And ROG Take The Piss Out Of Austin Healey's Denial Of Famous Fight Story
By Balls Team Updated

It's by far the most celebrated behind the scenes tale from the drab 2001 Lions tour of Australia. Hell, it's increasingly becoming the most celebrated moment of Brian O'Driscoll's professional career. He's asked about it at least as often as the Paris hat-trick in 2000.

We speak, of course, of the day he destroyed Austin Healey in a boxing match on tour. The challenge was sparked by Healey's excessive ribbing of Ronan O'Gara.

O'Gara, you may remember, had his face re-decorated by Waratahs full-back Duncan McRae. The rugby world was appalled but Healey took a more relaxed and mischievous view and spent the aftermath challenging ROG to a boxing match.

Keith Wood has told the story at length before, as has O'Driscoll himself.

Keith Wood: ROG just said: 'Piss off, just leave me alone, get away from me', and then suddenly this little voice peeps in.

'I'll have a bit of that!' says Drico. And they put on a pair of boxing gloves and Drico beat the living crap out of him!

However, in the most shocking act of Irish-related historical revisionism since Conor Cruise O'Brien published 'States of Ireland', Austin Healey recently tweeted that the story was "completely fabricated."


Not embellished or even somewhat distorted. Completely fabricated.

In tonight's Off the Ball rugby roadshow, O'Driscoll responded to those claims. Healey's refutation of the story is both a new tactic and sign of wounded pride.

It's the one story that absolutely kills Austin and his retort when it's brought up is usually, "Oh let's re-arrange a charity match and I'll box the head off you." Which is an answer in itself because he has reason to get one back at me.

Austin is incredibly confident, some might say cocky, but he literally has no comeback. So his latest comeback is to refute that it ever happened.

I wouldn't be in a rush to have another go. I was relatively lucky that day so I'll call it quits at 1-0 and gloat for the rest of my days.

Ronan O'Gara arrived on the show later on and insisted the story was true. He did introduce another dimension to the story, suggesting that Healey might not have fully appreciated that a full-on boxing match was in progress while he was getting pummeled.


Brian boxed the head off him. It's black and white. There was a kind of a fun element too. He didn't really think it was happening but all of a sudden...  Yeah it did happen. Black and white. Case closed.

He's actually great craic on a tour. He's mischievous. He's always at something. But he was going to get his bateing and it arrived quite early.

Read more: Austin Healey Calls Famous Keith Wood Story 'Completely Fabricated'

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