Under-pressure Ireland will not lose focus insists Cian Healy

Ireland's 'Can Healy
Ireland's 'Can Healy

Cian Healy insists Ireland will not let their desperation for a first RBS 6 Nations victory cloud their judgement in Saturday’s clash with Italy in Dublin.

Frustrated Healy admitted Ireland have been hit hard by two defeats and a draw in their failed bid for a third successive Six Nations title.

The Leinster prop vowed Ireland will not desert long-held principles against the Azzurri, however, in spite of the pressing need for a win at the Aviva Stadium.

Italy lock Quintin Geldenhuys has freely admitted Jacques Brunel’s men will seek to capitalise on Ireland’s poor form - but Healy remained unfazed amid the pressure for a result.

“It is a big thing for us not having a win so far but it is not going to change our game plan,” said Healy.

“We are very confident in what we do, how we train and how it is all put together.

“We are just working on the latter stages of our phases and keeping them as strong as possible.”

Ireland’s 16-16 draw with Wales in Dublin has preserved head coach Joe Schmidt’s unbeaten Six Nations record at the Aviva Stadium.

Subsequent defeats in France and England put paid to any hopes of a third consecutive Six Nations crown, so now Ireland are fighting to restore their pride.

British and Irish Lions prop Healy missed Ireland’s tournament-opening clash with Wales due to knee trouble, but is now keen for a strong finish in the closing home games with Italy and Scotland.

The 28-year-old set his sights on protecting Ireland’s unbeaten home streak under Schmidt in the Six Nations, starting by seeing off the Azzurri this weekend.

“I am not even treating it like that,” said Healy, when asked if Ireland would take a no-panic approach into the weekend.

“I haven’t played at home. It is a new one for me coming in. To me it is the first home game of the tournament, and that’s how I’m treating it.

“We have a lot of pride in what we do. We wouldn’t want to be losing to anyone in Dublin.

“It is something that we have been trying to build on for the last couple of years, to make our home a very hard place for people to come to, and we don’t want that to change.”