Austin Healey

Austin Healey

Infobox Rugby Union biography
playername = Austin Healey

fullname = Austin Sean Healey
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1973|10|26|df=yes
cityofbirth = Wallasey, Merseyside
countryofbirth = England
height = height|ft=5|in=10
weight = 13 st 10 lbs (87 kg)
nickname = Oz, The Leicester Lip
school = St Anselm's College, Birkenhead
university = Leeds Metropolitan University
relatives =
position = Scrum-half centre/ Wing / fly half Full-back
currentclub = [ Bishop's Stortford Rugby Football Club]
clubnumber = Universal Back
youthyears =
youthclubs =
years =
____ ‐ 96
1996 ‐ 06
clubs = Waterloo
caps(points) =

237 (322)
youthrepyears =
youthrepteam =
youthrepcaps(points) =
repyears = 1992
1997 ‐ 06
1997 & 01
repteam = England U-21
England A
British and Irish Lions
repcaps(points) =

ru_sevensnationalyears =
ru_sevensnationalteam = England
ru_sevensnationalcomp =
pcupdate =
repupdate =

Austin Sean Healey (born 26 October, 1973 in Wallasey, Merseyside) is an English rugby union footballer, who played as a utility back for Leicester Tigers, and has represented England and the British Lions. He now plays for Bishop's Stortford rugby club.

He has 51 England caps and 2 Lions caps. He has played for England at scrum half, fly-half, fullback and wing, and has often been used as a replacement (or substitute) because of his versatility. He is a famously competitive and "outspoken" character, gaining the nickname "The Leicester Lip".


He was educated at St Anselm's College, Birkenhead and at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Early career

Austin played for England U21 in 1992 and went on to represent England A and the Barbarians ‘96 tour of Japan. After spells at Waterloo and Orrell Healey initially signed for Leicester as a scrum half, having played at wing and outside centre for Orrell. He made his England debut against Ireland during the 1997 Five Nations tournament, and toured with the British Lions in 1997, making two appearances.

He has played in 4 Five/Six Nations tournaments (‘98-'02) and was a key figure in the 1999 World Cup. In the 1999/00 season he was voted both Leicester Tigers' and Allied Dunbar’s Player of the Season.

Leicester coach Bob Dwyer switched him to the wing to accommodate Fijian Waisale Serevi at scrum half since Serevi's defense was not good enough for him to play wing. Healey was then selected on the wing for England.

After an injury to Tiger's South African fly-half Joel Stransky, and the unsuitability of others such as Pat Howard and Andy Goode to fill the role, Healey was switched to fly-half. In this position however, he was unable to make much of an international impression, his sole appearance at fly-half came in the 2000 tour to South Africa where in the first test after Jonny Wilkinson had food poisoning.

In 2001 he made the break during the Heineken Cup final that resulted in the winning try - Healey had started he match at scrum half with Andy Goode at 10, but was switched to fly-half in the closing minutes. He also scored the second and decisive try against Munster when Tigers retained the cup the following year.

His excellent form for Tigers during the 2001 season, was rewarded with a call up to England’s starting line-up during the Six Nations, and selection for the British and Irish Lions squad to tour Australia, where he put in some good performances for the mid-week team but unfortunately missed out on further caps due to injury.

However, for many people the abiding memory of this tour will be the controversy caused by his comments on Wallaby lock Justin Harrison in his column in the "Guardian". The comments backfired after Harrison was selected to make his debut for the Third and deciding test of the series, and stole a crucial lineout - sealing the series victory for Australia. There was some suggestion that Healey's comments had served as motivation for the Wallabies team.

On his return from Australia he played in every game for England until he was rested for the summer 2002 tour to Argentina, showing his versatility by starting at fullback, scrum half, and wing and came on twice as a replacement.

He returned to international action appearing as a replacement in all three of the following season's autumn internationals when England recorded a series of victories over Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

2003/2004 Season

Injuries curtailed much of the 2003-04 season, he returned for the Tiger's European quarter final against Munster but again had to leave the pitch. He recovered well enough to be included in England's preparations for the 2003 World Cup, playing in the game against France in Marseilles, but missed the final cut when the 30-man squad was announced. He travelled to Australia halfway through the World Cup as cover at scrum half, but didn't play.

After the disappointment of the World Cup Healey returned to the Tigers and played on the wing for the most part of a disappointing season for Tigers who only scraped into the Heineken cup through a wildcard final. Austin was discarded by the England coaches, and has not played for them since the Rugby World Cup warm up match against France.

On the Lions tour to Australia in 2001 he developed a rivalry with Australian lock Justin Harrison calling him 'the plank'. When the Lions played the Australia A side Healey claimed that Harrison ran 80 yards just to bump him in the chest. Later when Australia played England at Twickenham, Harrison's mum asked Healey to sign a picture of Healey to take home. She claimed that the feud between Healey and Harrison had made Harrison more famous in Australia then his Rugby ability could.

2004/2005 Season

In the 2004/05 season Healey hit form again, and with the failings of the current England backline, there were calls for him to be reinstated to ignite England's backline. England coach Andy Robinson humoured the press that there was a chance of a recall, but it never came. Instead Healey turned his attention to the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
2005 Lions' tour
. He was included in the long list, but not the tour party (having not played international rugby for 3 years). He wrote a column, for the Guardian, on the tour, which included the quote 'Have you heard the latest from the lions camp? Clive's sending Andy Robinson to a fancy dress party tonight. He's going as a pumpkin, they're hoping when it gets to midnight he'll turn into a real coach!'

2005/2006 Season

Tigers finished top of the league, a notable performance for Healey was away at Wasps, where he scored in the last minute to steal a draw. However Wasps hammered Tigers in the final.In the 05/06 season Healey was handed club vice-captaincy and regularly captained the team from scrum half and fly half during the international period. He looked back to near his best form and pressed both Harry Ellis and Andy Goode out of their respective regular slots of 9 and 10 at different times throughout the season.


Following retirement from Leicester Tigers at the end of the 2005/6 season, Healey planned to start a new career as a banker with Credit Suisse and to also continue working as a BBC analyst. Although no longer playing full-time professional rugby, citing injuries as the main reason, Austin now plays at club level for [ Bishop's Stortford Rugby Football Club] 1st XV. Bishop's Stortford are in the UK London Division One.

trictly Come Dancing

Healey is currently competing in the sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing with professional dancer Erin Boag.


* Austin is a fan of Everton Football Club
* He passed A level mathematics at 14 years of age
* Once remarked that Gloucester Rugby's ground Kingsholm was "just a bit of grass".
* The term 'drives' coming into general use as a midly abusive term has been credited to Healey following comments in his autobiography. On the way to a midweek game on the 2001 Lions Tour, Healey recalled this exchange with a coach driver: 'I was up the front of the coach, right behind the driver. He said he hates it when people call him 'drives'. Big mistake drives!'
* He has not had a hair transplant but has used laser therapy to to re-grow his own hair
* On Strictly Come Dancing's sister program,It Takes Two, Austin's dance partner Erin Boag revealed that Austin also researches dance ouside of the studio by watching videos on youtube.

ee also

* List of top English points scorers and try scorers


ISBN 1-903267-02-1


External links

* [ Leicester profile]
* [ Sporting Heroes profile]
* [ BBC News Austin Healey retires]
* [ BBC News The world according to Healey]
* [ Bishop's Stortford Observer - National hero becomes a local hero]
* [ - Austin Healey in national news]
* [ Austin Healey on Flickr]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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