Find out about the Irish playmaker’s rugby journey

Hotshot: Munster and Ireland U20 fly-half Ben Healy

Date of birth 29 June 1999 Born Tipperary Club Munster Country Ireland Position Fly-half

When did you first play rugby?

At six or seven, at my local club Nenagh Ormond. My brother played there and my dad (Fergal) coached. He was a bit reluctant to let me start. I wanted to start at four but I had three years of kicking and passing before I was allowed to play.

What positions have you played?

I jumped around: full-back, centre, No 8. At Munster U17 I was scrum-half; at the end of that year I transitioned to out-half.

How did you find the Junior World Cup in Argentina?

I learnt a huge amount. I can’t say enough about the guys I played with, the coaching staff and the set-up. But given we’d won the Grand Slam, to come eighth was hugely disappointing.

What are your strengths?

I think my personality suits ten, that’s why I was moved from nine to ten. I think I run the game pretty well and on top of that my skills, so kicking, passing, stuff like that.

And what about work-ons?

Tackling was a big focus of mine and I’ve improved a lot, but the big one is developing my running game. The goal is to be a complete out-half; Dan Carter has got the closest to that.

It must be great having Stephen Larkham coaching you at Munster?

It’s phenomenal. From a team perspective everyone is so excited about what he’s bringing and what the attack is going to look like in the next few years.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your career?

First, my family. Second, in Nenagh I had a skills coach, Pat Whelan, who had me spiralling a ball with both feet from five years old! Finally, a coach at school, Sean Skehan, had a massive impact in terms of my tactical awareness.

What’s been your best rugby moment?

Winning the Munster Schools Senior Cup with Glenstal Abbey. It’s been going more than 100 years and my school had never won it. And the Grand Slam win with Ireland U20.

What are your goals this season?

I don’t have a time limit. My goals are to break into the Munster team and then the Ireland team.

RW VERDICT: Healy’s kicking, both out of hand and off the tee, is on the money and his game management shows maturity beyond his years. He’s striving
for the all-round game that can take him to the next level for both Munster and Ireland.

This article originally appeared in the January 2020 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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