Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Healey's touch still intact

A fitter and lean former England scrum-half shows no signs of fatigue in his first over-35 charity game couple of hours after landing in Dubai.

DUBAI // Austin Healey set aside his dancing shoes and relocated his rugby boots with impressive results as he made a sparkling cameo for Christina Noble on the opening day of the Dubai Rugby Sevens. The former England scrum-half only landed in the UAE at 8am, but was on the pitch in time for the start of the all-star charity side's second fixture, at 11.40am. With his former Leicester and England teammates Will Greenwood and Leon Lloyd on the sidelines as non-playing cheerleaders, Healey was swiftly back into the old routine. He scored the opening try against Shahrdary Tabriz with his first touch of the ball, and proceeded to successfully kick the conversion from out wide with his weaker left-foot. It was a procession from then on, and the former British Lion also dotted down the final score to set the seal on a 53-0 rout for the defending Internationals Vets champions.

Healey is playing in the over-35s competition for the first time, after missing last year's Sevens in order to compete in the UK TV show Strictly Come Dancing. "I'm a bit fatigued but I had a bit of a sleep and it was good to get into it," said Healey. "I couldn't make it out last year because of Strictly, but I am glad to be back. I'm looking forward to the competition heating up and hopefully staying fit throughout it." It is a slimline version of the Healey who played 51 times for England until 2006. He lost weight to compete on Strictly, and he is reaping the dividends in rugby's speediest format. "The fitness side is not too bad for me because I am down to 12 stone, which is really light," he added.

"I'm small after the dancing so I can run around, but because I have a bad back, shoulder and knee it is a matter of staying fit so I can run around. "I was practising nine hours a day, so in terms of longevity it was really hard, but the intensity was not quite as high as rugby. "Luckily I have not had to be quite at full pace. Hopefully I don't have to go anywhere near it." @Email:pradley@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Players such as George Springer are a sign that things are starting to swing in the Houston Astros' favour. But more help is needed. Scott Halleran / AFP

Houston Astros are still earth-bound but help is on the way

As harbingers of a new era go, the Houston Astros could have done worse than misspelling their new phenom’s name on his major-league debut.

 Luis Suarez became the first Liverpool player to score 30 Premier League goals in a season since Ian Rush in 1987. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

Sterling and Suarez inpire Liverpool to win over Norwich City

The win takes the Premier League table-toppers to 80 points from 35 games.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National