Austin Healey's feud with Graham Henry is as bitter as ever, if a sneak preview of his new book, Lions, Tigers & Roses, is anything to go by. The Leicester and England utility back, fined for newspaper criticism of Henry's methods last summer in Australia, said some Lions players referred to Wales's New Zealand-born coach as "that Kiwi runt".
Healey, 28 on Friday, also revealed he had considered quitting the tour. "I won't make myself available to tour New Zealand in four years unless they [the Lions] are better prepared with a visionary coach like Brian Ashton, Clive Woodward or Dean Richards," he said. "I was deadly serious about packing it in. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that all my family had saved up to go to Australia. Had they not been coming I probably would have said 'see you later', left my kit in the room, taken a few clothes to travel round Australia, and gone."
Henry has failed to rise above this spat having targeted Healey and his England colleague, Matt Dawson, who was also fined for newspaper comments, in his own published account of the 2001 Lions tour Down Under, Henry's Pride.
Diego Dominguez booted 18 points as Ulster lost their 100 per cent Heineken Cup record to Stade Français in Paris yesterday. The Italian fly-half added four penalties and three conversions to tries by Sylvain Marconnet, Fabien Galthié, Sylvain Jonnet and Christophe Dominici as last season's losing finalists tightened their grip on Pool Two. Ulster's No 8, Tony McWhirter, scored the opening try and Paddy Wallace kicked two penalties.
The England fly-half, Jonny Wilkinson, has been rested for today's Pool Six visit to Toulouse even though Newcastle, already without their captain Pat Lam and the Scotland lock Stuart Grimes, must win if they are to reach the quarter-finals. Jason Leonard, Keith Wood, Will Greenwood and Dan Luger all return for Harlequins at home to Castres in Pool Four, but Paul Burke faces a fitness test on a rib injury. Will Green comes in at prop for Darren Molloy, who is to have surgery on an ankle injury, as Wasps, already knocked out, entertain Treviso in Pool Two. Llanelli, who can still qualify from Pool One, welcome back their captain and No 8, Scott Quinnell, for the trip to Italy to face Calvisano.
England and France are to play "home and away" friendly matches in the run-up to the next World Cup, in October 2003. Clive Woodward's men will face the French on Friday 15 August, probably in Marseilles, and Twickenham will stage the return leg on Saturday 30 August.
The former All Blacks captain Todd Blackadder will bid farewell to Canterbury in New Zealand's National Provincial Championship final against Otago in Christchurch on Saturday. The 29-year-old forward, who will then join Edinburgh, played a key role in yesterday's 53-22 semi-final victory over Auckland.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies