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Friday, November 05, 2010

Austin Healey shares his thoughts as we get closer to kickoff

Austin Healey shares his thoughts as we get closer to kickoff

One of the true characters of the game, former England back Austin Healey was kind enough to share a few thoughts with Rugbydump ahead of a big month for Test rugby up north. This is what he had to say.

RD: Your thoughts on the game England vs New Zealand game this weekend?
AH: England rugby matches obviously dont get any bigger or better than this. New Zealand in front of a sold out Twickenham? I think the fans are in for a real treat.

This could be the start of something special for England. If we win, people will be talking up our chances of winning the World Cup next year. But if we get hammered, many will say were back to square one. Regardless, if we see England players displaying the three Es Excitement, Emotion and Endeavour I think we will have a good Saturday whichever way the result goes.

Will law interpretations affect the Investec Internationals this autumn?
I think its time that people stopped using the law interpretations from the Southern and Northern Hemisphere as an excuse. We should just get on with it and let the game flow.

Nowadays, the players are good at interpreting which way the referee is going to play the game from his decisions in the first 10 minutes, so I dont really see it being an issue in these four matches.

Your ideal Englands halfback combination come World Cup kick off time?
The World Cup is still a long time away and there are lots of players pushing to be in the team. All of these players will be seeking to put down a marker in the Investec Internationals, so it will be interesting to see how the contenders perform.

I think the RBS 6 Nations next year will be key to deciding who is on the plane to New Zealand, however, they will be coming up against some big, physical sides in these next few weeks so Martin Johnson and his team will be keen to see the players can take the physical battle now.

In light of some of the citings and suspensions weve seen this year, is rugby becoming over policed, ie: soft?
There is absolutely no way that rugby is becoming 'soft'. You only have to look at the number of recent retirements due to injury to see that it is now a more physical game than ever.

In terms of the game becoming over-policed - no, I dont think it is being, but I would like to see more common sense being used when dishing out punishments. For example, if a player throws a punch at someone and misses, dont ban them for six weeks. But if a player throws a punch and it cuts an opponent so he requires stitches, I think a ban is justified. The punishment needs to fit the crime.

Do you expect another surprise package at the 2011 World Cup, as we saw with Argentina in 2007?
No, I dont expect there to be any other surprise packages at this years World Cup. Argentina are due to join the Tri-Nations in 2012, so I dont think you can call a potential Tri-Nations team a surprise package anymore.

However, I would say keep an eye out for the emergence of Russia as a rugby nation at the World Cup and over the next few years!

What is O2 Inside Line all about?
O2 Inside Line is all about getting the sport of rugby exposed to the general public and breaking down the barriers for fans to get an insight into the England team.

Rugby has traditionally been a very protected sport, so were seeking to give both die hard and casual rugby fans access to the England team in a more irreverent way. Were going to show them the funny side of things that people generally dont get to see!

You can now watch the first episode of O2 Inside Line below

To get the inside scope on the squad, as well as fun features, match analysis and up to the minute player interviews with presenters Austin Healey and Abi Griffiths, watch the latest episode of O2 Inside Line on RFU TV at www.rfu.com/o2insideline

Posted at 10:35 am | 14 comments

Viewing 14 comments

KG November 05, 2010 11:07 am

"In terms of the game becoming over-policed - no, I dont think it is being, but I would like to see more common sense being used when dishing out punishments. For example, if a player throws a punch at someone and misses, dont ban them for six weeks. But if a player throws a punch and it cuts an opponent so he requires stitches, I think a ban is justified. The punishment needs to fit the crime."

Why does it matter if the player makes contact or not? Either way, the puncher still has the intent to hurt another player... it shouldn't matter if you can't actually throw a punch.

Also, I think punching bans should be reduced... whether contact is made or not. I like watching punch ups.

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Anonymous November 05, 2010 12:29 pm

^^^ Fail

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Von November 05, 2010 1:24 pm

@KG - I take my hat off to you: firstly for getting a sensible comment in before the "First" tw@t and, more importantly writing almost exactly the same comment I was hoping to post myself.

If anything, the ban for a missed punch should be longer, to punish both the intent and the ineptitude.

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Gaz November 05, 2010 1:31 pm

If you want to see a punch up go watch boxing or MMA. Lets keep it out of rugby.

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KG November 05, 2010 2:52 pm

"If anything, the ban for a missed punch should be longer, to punish both the intent and the ineptitude."

Was thinking that as well. Good on ye.

Also, guy who said "first" missed by 29 minutes...

"If you want to see a punch up go watch boxing or MMA. Lets keep it out of rugby."

I love both. Unfortunately, fighters have strategies and are generally level headed so fights are slower and more controlled. Not too mention they have gloves. Nothing like watching two angry lads start swinging at each other.

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Leeners93 November 05, 2010 7:23 pm

i agree,i'm all for a good ol' fasshined punch-up,but i think the type of punch thrown has to be taken into account.
for example,someone who throws a punch from behind like a p*ssy should be banned for a lot longer than someone who stands face-to-face with their opponent and takes them on fairly.
i hate people who throw sly digs,like jamie cudmore,if you're going to hit someone,at least be a man and give them the chance to fight back

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WelshOsprey November 05, 2010 7:40 pm

As annoying as Austin Healey is, hes a very good pundit.
Heres my predictions for the weekend too

Wales 20
Australia 35

England 10
New Zealand 31

Ireland 23
South Africa 6

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bolder boulder November 05, 2010 8:50 pm

I agree with almost everything said here so far...wow.

"i agree,i'm all for a good ol' fasshined punch-up,but i think the type of punch thrown has to be taken into account."

Definitely. A short confrontation with the fists can be good at diffusing some tension on the field as long as it's nothing too serious. A punch to the back of someone's head is a cowardly act.

"As annoying as Austin Healey is, hes a very good pundit."

Yeah...I wasn't expecting much, given that I don't care for Healey, but he had some poignant things to say. English players are really going to have to put their whole into shutting down NZ quick if they expect anything out of this....but that's about the toughest thing in the world to do.

Dunno if Ireland will give it to SA (even though SA has a number of players injured/out of position), but if they do, I'll be happier than a pig in shit.

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Chris November 05, 2010 9:34 pm

Woh, RD looks awesome. RD and Nike! For an all red website in the past you'd pulled of blue ads pretty fecking well

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Chris November 05, 2010 9:42 pm

And the game is definately over policed. I don't recall it being as stop start and ref influenced in the past, even going back only 5 years games were vastly superior in regards to flow.

Referees these days will blow for extremely minor incidents just for the sake of stamping their authority.

Rugby is reminding me more and more of the NFL with the stop start nature, in some games it borders on ridiculous. If I want that I'll watch the NFL itself. From rugby I want to see a free flowing game.

Unlike most I don't think it's a problem with the refs. It seems more like an issue with the rule book, as refs are reffing to the letter of the law.

I just hope a few years down the lines these problems can be resolved and we'll stop hearing the ref blow his whistle every 80 seconds

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 12:08 am

was anyone else hoping that she was going to be in the bath instead?

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 9:35 am

England have beaten Australia away three times (Twice in 2003, once this year) not twice like the (fit) woman said.

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(u-p)rick November 06, 2010 11:16 am

'If anything, the ban for a missed punch should be longer, to punish both the intent and the ineptitude.'

I love this comment! :)

In terms of 'has rugby become soft' I think Healey may have misunderstood the direction of the question.....Ofcourse we can all watch those historic matches on sky where second rows look like bambi, and now look at the game, you have guys like simon shaw who is some ridiculous height who doesnt look that tall because he is so bulked up...So in that sense, rugby has become 'BIGGER and TOUGHER'.

But as for soft, I think the players have not become soft (apart from the odd dives) but everyone else has...i.e. coaches scream for justice, fans scream for justice, commissioners cite (for justice)....the only people that generally dont care are the guys playing....

I must admit on a certain previous video I was displeased with a players actions on another player, simply because toe to toe the guy would get killed, but really what was i thinking? 99% of the people here have played rugby to some level, and you all have incidents where you think 'ill remember your face, the next time we play you're going to pay'

my point is you look for payback in the game....

However, with regards to eye gouging or other very serious matters, i have no problem with large bans for 'intent.' As for punching, come off it, if its a common occurrance with 1 player every match *cough*Cudmore*cough* then by all means give him a ban so he can 'think about his actions' or whatever....but if a couple guys get in a scrap on the pitch let the ref deal with it...

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