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Last Updated: Monday, 8 September, 2003, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Healey remains upbeat
By Dan Warren
BBC Sport

Austin Healey
Healey has won 51 caps for England
Austin Healey has revealed he was not surprised by his omission from England's Rugby World Cup squad.

The Leicester scrum-half, who has won 51 England caps in his career, paid the price for an injury-ravaged season during which he played just 11 times for his club.

But, speaking to this website, Healey said he would still be closely following the fortunes of the team in Australia.

"This is not about me, it's about England winning, and about us going down under and trying to win the World Cup," Healey said.

"(Not getting picked) was a blow, although in some ways I prepared myself for it.

"I played in the hardest game against France in Marseille, but ultimately time just caught up with me."

England coach Clive Woodward has told the players who missed the cut that selection had provided him with a number of tough decisions, and admitted: "It's tough on Austin."

But Healey said he would remain prepared in case of any injuries in the current squad.

I'm confident that the decision was nothing to do with my ability as a rugby player
Austin Healey

"I'm just one or two matches away from being ready," he said.

"I did everything I could, there's not any more I could have done to physically prepare myself.

"But I'm confident that the decision was nothing to do with my ability as a rugby player.

"Obviously I wouldn't wish injury on anyone, but Clive Woodward has told me I will be covering number nine, 10 and the wing.

"I will make sure I am prepared if anything does happen."

Healey said he would now concentrate his energies on helping Leicester in the Premiership, with the Tigers kicking off on Saturday against London Irish.

"You have to take something positive from everything, and I will be absolutely 100% focused on Leicester," he said.

"(Leicester director of rugby) Dean Richards has had faith in me and I only played 11 games last season so I owe them."

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