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Austin Healey Critical Of Irish "Playacting" In Win Over England

Austin Healey Critical Of Irish "Playacting" In Win Over England
By Gavin Cooney
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Austin Healey has used BT's Rugby Tonight Podcast to pay a glowing ode to Irish rugby, with one caveat.

In conversation with Ben Kay, the erstwhile England and Lions back said that Ireland are undoubtedly one of the favourites for the World Cup, but was critical of perceived Irish playacting during the course of the Six Nations win at Twickenham.

That's my only problem with the Irish team - brilliant side, great players across the field - but there was an awful lot of playacting going on.

A lot of screaming, a lot of noise, it's working for them and it's getting them where they need to be - I mean they've won three Six Nations in the last five years and now they've got a Grand Slam - undoubtedly one of the favourites for the World Cup.

He didn't proffer any specific examples having said this, but did point out earlier in the show that he believes a penalty won early in the second-half, when Elliot Daly was penalised for a neck-roll in trying to clear Rob Kearney out of a ruck, should not have been awarded.

Ireland were a lot more streetwise. Kearney got that neckroll on Daly; it wasn't close to being a neckroll.


His co-host Ben Kay, meanwhile, described Conor Murray as Ireland's most important player.


I think Murray is the best in the world.

Not necessarily someone like Aaron Smith, who might have glitzy play to him, but in terms of a nine that manages the game. His box kicking is absolutely superb, which they've built a lot of the foundations for some of their performances over the years on; the speed that he gets the ball to Sexton or the forward carriers' hands is as quick as anyone.

He manages the referee perfectly, not by chomping at him and screaming at him, but because he plays so fast all the time and as soon as it's not coming the hands come out and he goes - 'where is it? I can't see it'. And then the referee gives a penalty...

...Murray controls the agenda at the breakdown.

Both Kay and Healey tasked themselves with raking over the embers of the English defeat, and an astonishingly disappointing Six Nations campaign which featured three-straight defeats and a fifth-placed finish. Healey says that he knew that England were heading for a loss against Ireland within five minutes of the first whistle at Twickenham, and was critical of Dylan Hartley's media comments after the game.

I knew after five minutes they were losing the game. They lost the contact, and got physically dominated. Ireland were amazing; England were terrible. I heard Dylan Hartley say something after the game which infuriated me. Chris Jones of 5Live asked him what people would think of this result, and his response was something like 'we don't care what anyone else thinks, we will appraise the game and appraise our performance, and we will change things'.

Maybe you should care Dylan, because soon you will be like us and be a fan of England.

Neither Kay nor Healey believe, however, that Jones should lose his job before the World Cup in Japan next year.

[BT Sport]


See Also: Predicting The 31-Man Ireland Squad For The 2019 Rugby World Cup


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