Leinster’s Cian Healy (Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne)
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Cian Healy warns there is no good time to play Saracens as he chases down a record fifth Champions Cup title with Leinster.
Healy, 32, played in last year's Euro final defeat to Sarries in Newcastle but the reigning champions look a less formidable side ahead of their trip to Dublin for Saturday's quarter-final.
"I'll take some learnings from the past and from playing them," said the Ireland loosehead prop.
"You can’t rely on anything like that but you can definitely take positives and negatives from it.
"We’re both different squads now, we’ve lost and gained players. You have to beat the best to be the best and at the moment they're the best, so it’s a good opportunity."
Sarries, however, have endured a torrid year on the back of the salary cap scandal that resulted in relegation from the Premiership.
Following the departure of a couple of top names, the loss of Owen Farrell last week through suspension was the latest blow to be endured.
"He’s obviously an excellent player, but we’ll scout the team without him," said Healy in an interview with BT Sport.
"He’s not a factor for us at the moment as he won’t be in the squad, so we’ll look at the rest of the squad and they still play the same pattern, they have that they stick to.
"So we’ll look at that and that’s how we’ll break it down, we won’t be looking at individuals."
Saracens' Billy Vunipola tackled by Jack Conan of Leinster
(Image: ©INPHO/Gary Carr)
Regardless of their troubles, Mark McCall and his side have long had Leinster in their sights.
Asked if this was a good time to play the defending champions, Healy responded: "I don’t know.
"Sarries have a really good identity – I don’t know if there is ever a great time to play them.
"They're a strong group and from the outside you could say something like that could drive all the lads closer and make them more dangerous.
"We will still put a lot of time into planning how we’re going to play them because sometimes when everything is against you, you become very close together and that can be very dangerous.
"So we’ll have to treat them very carefully. They're a team that want to push the limits of play in a very good sense – and by what’s achievable by breaking down defences.
"They’re a very committed side and have very high standards."
As do Leinster, who notched a 25th straight win last Saturday since that Saracens defeat in May of last year.
They picked up the PRO14 trophy in the process by beating Ulster. Yet if they are to conquer Europe and secure a second double triumph in three years, they will have to win games in each of the next three weekends.
Saracens celebrating last year's triumph
"I suppose if you’re on a high playing back to back games, it’s good to keep that buzz up," Healy remarked.
"It’s definitely good when you’re winning the games.
"It can be difficult if you’ve lost as you’ve got to get yourself back up, but then at the same time you have an opportunity to fix things.
"With big games you just want to play as many as you can as often as possible and that’s why people play sport of any kind, for those big games.
"I’m not tired, I’m surprisingly fresh. We'll take some confidence (from the wins since rugby's restart) but at the same time we had a lot of slip ups in the final.
"Our lineout didn’t go to plan, we opened up for the try they got early on and there’s a couple of breakdown things we need to work on so we wouldn’t lean on that too much as there’s a lot to build on.
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"But certainly the continued run of winning has been good for the squad, good for the morale.
"It’s good to win but good to still have stuff to learn and build on to get better."
In terms of dealing with the challenge Sarries' front five will put up to Leinster, Healy insisted there won't be much change required.
"We’re pretty confident in our game and how we go about playing it so there is no need to change our game plan," said the Clontarf man.
"It’s just about execution and nailing all the small details as that’s where they’re quite sharp".
BT Sport is the home of the Heineken Champions Cup with every single match live. Watch Leinster v Saracens on Saturday 19th September from 3pm on BT Sport 3.