Heaslip ecstatic with captaincy nod

Date published: January 23 2013

Leinster and Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip has revealed his delight at being named captain for the upcoming Six Nations.

Leinster and Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip has revealed his delight at being named captain for the upcoming Six Nations.

Heaslip has replaced Ireland team-mate Brian O'Driscoll as captain and revealed that he struggled to contain his emotions when Kidney revealed the news to him in a meeting last week.

“Deccy [Kidney] rang me last week and asked me to come in for a meeting and after a bit of chit-chat he asked me,” said Heaslip.

“I nearly had to stop myself jumping over the table to kiss him, which would have been really awkward!

“I was really proud and humbled, with all sorts of emotions flying around – it's been great and coming into camp on Sunday night made me realise what we have to do and the hard work ahead of us.

“I spoke to Brian and he told me he's 100% behind me and if I needed any help – which I have been doing annoying him. It's fantastic that he is in the squad and I can call on a player of his experience for advice. He deserves all the accolades and respect that he has and they are pretty big shoes to fill.”

Asked what he believed was expected of him in his new role, Heaslip highlighted the importance of his role not just on the field as captain – where he states he is surrounded by an excellent leadership group – but also away from the pitch.

“The way you carry yourself on and off the field, even down to your lifestyle, and the fact that you're representing your team, management, fans and the green of Ireland – which I can tell you Irish people take very seriously – all of that is a very humbling experience and something I hope to do well at,” he said.

Declan Kidney stated that the decision was based on Heaslip's good work in November when he filled in as captain, along with the need to allow O'Driscoll enough time and space to recover his form after a long layoff.

“Jamie did a good job in November and it was my decision to give Brian some space – which he probably didn't want,” said Kidney.

“They're totally different but both play and lead by example.”

Ireland rounded out the November Internationals with a resounding win over Argentina in Dublin, in a 46-24 rout of the Rugby Championship side including seven tries.

Kidney hopes that going into the Six Nations, the impact of that result will stand his side in good stead with their minimal time together before the Championship begins.

“The win over Argentina came at a good time for us, as we were fed up with losing,” added Kidney.

“We came together Sunday night and have had two good days training, but you need every minute that you have.”

by Ben Coles