Although Ben Healy has only two starts for the Munster senior team, Wallaby legend Steve Larkham believes the 21-year-old has the ability to go all the way.
Tipperary native Steel has shown the nerves to snatch up the dramatic late winners against Scarlett and Edinburgh, while Munster senior coach Larkham is sure to get the Irish team out of half-time.
“I think Ben was always very strong mentally. He’s a very stylish character,” Larkham said. “He knows what’s good, he knows what he can give the team, and I think he’s doing it before the Edinburgh game.
He leads the team well in training paddock and play and he has got the best skill set. That’s the biggest thing, and one of the hardest things about his last 12 months of skill. “
Healy has been ruled out of the bench with five chances following the injury to Joey Carbury. He hopes to increase his notable numbers when he faces the Monster Cardiff Blues tonight at Thomont Park.
When other former Irish under-20 players Hugo Keenan and Will Connors started trying for Ireland a weekend later, Larkham reckoned Healy could also earn a grade.
“If you look at Ben’s abilities, he has a great pass, he kicks the ball extraordinarily out of hand and into penalty kicks or transitions. He has the right character.
“He’s improved his skills over the last 12 months, and he’s still working on them. From a rugby perspective, not just from such an athletic point of view, he’s working on those skills as well.
“So, in my mind, he’s definitely someone with the ability to play at the next level.”
When Cardiff arrive in Limerick tonight, Munster will try to change from three to three. Head coach Johan van Gran made nine changes but retained half the partnership between Healy and Craig Casey.
Billy Holland, the captain from the second row, has his first start of the season, with young Hodnett and Gavin Combes in the youth squad alongside Jack O’Donoghue.
Introduced, Academy Prop Josh Wicherley – Finn’s brother – will make his Munster debut, with JJ Hanrahan on the bench.
Munster – M. Haley; C. Nash, D. Goggin, R. Scannel, D. Sweetnam; B Healy, C Casey; J. Cronin, K. O. Byrne, S. Archer; F Witcherley, B Holland (c); J O Donog, J Hodnet, G Compass. Substitutes: R. Marshall, J. Witcherley, R. Salanova, J. Klein, C. Cloyte, N. McCarthy, J. J. Hanrahan, D. D. Allende.
Cardiff Blues – M Morgan; A Summerhill, R. Lee-Lo, W. Halloho, H. Amos; J. Evans, L. Williams (c); C. Domachowski, K. Daisy, D. Arip, B. Murphy, R. Thornton, J. Ratti, J. Botham, O. Robinson. Substitutes: E Louis, B Thayer, S Andrews, S Moore, A Lawrence, L Jones, J Tovey, G Smith
Munster v Cardiff Blues,
Live, eir Sport / TG4, 8.15