Rugby World Cup 2015: Irish handed Healy boost for opener

Cian Healy has recovered from neck surgery
Cian Healy has recovered from neck surgery
Rugby World Cup
Hosts: England Dates: 18 September-31 October
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, BBC Radio Wales and in Welsh on BBC Radio Cymru and Radio Ulster plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.

Ireland prop Cian Healy has been passed fit for Saturday's World Cup opener against Canada in Cardiff after recovering from neck surgery.

The Leinster loose-head has battled neck problems since May.

"The fact he is fit is a huge boost to everyone in the squad and a huge boost to Cian as well," said Ireland team manager Mick Kearney on Monday.

Conor Murray (concussion) and Rob Kearney (knee) have also recovered from injuries to face the Canadians.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt's decision to include Healy in his final World Cup squad of 31 has now been vindicated, even though Healy was not fully fit when selected.

Hooker Rory Best said the 27-year-old's return handed a sizeable lift to an Ireland side who have suffered consecutive warm-up defeats to Wales and England and have never gone past the quarter-final stage at a World Cup.

Ireland's World Cup pool games
Saturday, 19 Sept, 14:30 BST: Ireland v Canada, Millennium Stadium
Sunday, 27 Sept, 16:45 BST: Ireland v Romania, Wembley Stadium
Sunday, 4 Oct, 16:45 BST: Ireland v Italy, Olympic Stadium
Sunday, 11 Oct, 16:45 BST: Ireland v France, Millennium Stadium

"He's a world-class player and he's made an unbelievable recovery," said Best.

"But we know that about him, he has a tendency to come back really quickly and just to have that capability within your squad.

"We're very lucky to have Jack McGrath and Cian who are both fantastic loose-heads, and you saw Jack really coming to the fore in the last Six Nations.

"That's put pressure on Cian and you can see the way he's responded, and the way he's come back this summer, he's hungrier than ever to come back in and to try to get that starting spot back.

"And he will be desperate to establish himself again as the world-class player that he is."

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