While Healy dare not look beyond the ultimate heavyweight duel, the draw offers him the prospect of an oil painting as priceless as any Rembrandt, a final for the ages against the tournament’s only other four-time winner, Toulouse.
Back in the late ’40s, when Karl Mullen’s Ireland ruled the Five Nations roost, a boy of 17 made his bow for Neath. At 18, he won a Grand Slam. At 19 he was the Lions’ Test full back against the All Blacks. At 20 he won another Slam and at 21 crossed the Rubicon from Llanelli to Leeds for a then world record fee of £6,000.
Lewis Jones’ all-round ability was such that he turned down £15-a-week to become an apprentice at Swansea Town followed by offers to play professional cricket. He chose rugby and in 1950 became the first player to join a Lions tour by air at a time when everyone else still went by boat.
At home in Leeds on Sunday, the pioneering Welshman celebrated a landmark as towering as those of yesteryear, his 90th birthday. In that respect he still has a way to go to catch up with the Grand Old Man of Munster and Ireland rugby.
Mick Lane, ex-University College, Cork who played on the left wing in that final Test at Eden Park on July 29, 1950, is in his 95th year making him the second oldest living Lion. Courtney Meredith, the Welsh prop who toured South Africa in 1955, is the oldest, by a mere seven days.