x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

England stars Healey and Greenwood will be reunited at Sevens

Austin Healey, the former England scrum-half, is raring to go ahead of the Dubai Rugby Sevens.

The former Leicester and England scrum-half Austin Healey will play for Christina Noble at the Dubai Rugby Sevens.
The former Leicester and England scrum-half Austin Healey will play for Christina Noble at the Dubai Rugby Sevens.

DUBAI // Austin Healey, the former England scrum-half, will put his growing media persona aside for one weekend and don his rugby boots again when he returns to the playing field at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens next weekend. The 'Leicester Lip' played at the Exiles in 2006 and 2007, then had a one year hiatus, as the Sevens clashed with his commitments on the BBC television show Strictly Come Dancing 12 months ago. He had been one of the main attractions on the outside pitches at the previous two competitions, where he played for the Christina Noble first team in the International Invitational competition. Now aged 36, he qualifies to play in the children's foundation's International Vets side, where he will be among an all-star cast of former professionals.

He will be reunited with his ex-housemate, as well as his former colleague for club and country, Will Greenwood. "I'm looking forward to getting back out there and donning the yellow jersey once more," said Greenwood, who also missed out last year as the Sevens clashed with the autumn internationals, for which he was a TV analyst. Greenwood was a key player in England's 2003 World Cup winner, but his haul of one Webb Ellis Cup winners medal is actually bettered by his midfield partner next month. Tim Horan, who is regarded by many as being the greatest centre of modern times, was a World Cup winner with Australia in 1991 and 1999, and will make his first outing in the yellow of Christina Noble.

Tim Stimpson, the former England and Lions fullback and Christina Noble regular, and Chris Sheasby, who won the inaugural Sevens World Cup with England, also return. The charity side will also dovetail their bid to retain the title for the third year running with coaching aspiring youngsters, with junior coaching clinics planned for Dubai College. pradley@thenational.ae