Saturday 21 October 2017

Jamie Heaslip: We’re not going to England to get to the semi-finals. I want to win the damn thing

Ireland's Jamie Heaslip in action during squad training. Ireland Rugby Squad Training. Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip in action during squad training. Ireland Rugby Squad Training. Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Ireland are now officially the second best rugby nation in the world but that is not good enough for ambitious Jamie Heaslip.

The Irish number 8 will be a key cog in Joe Schmidt's wheel as Ireland chase the holy grail in September's-starting Rugby World Cup and only one outcome is in his mind.

“Now let me make something clear: We’re not going to England to get to the semi-finals and be knocked out. I want to win the damn thing," said Heaslip on theplayerstribune.com.

While Heaslip is a much decorated player to date, the World Cup is still the one sore point when he reflects on his career so far.

"I’ve been a professional rugby player for 10 years. In those 10 years, I’ve only played for one club, and I’ve accomplished everything I can with that club," added thr Leinster man.

"But I’m far from satisfied. As a rugby nation, we’ve accomplished many great things, but there’s still one big box left to be ticked, one last trophy to be lifted: the Rugby World Cup.”

Heaslip insists that while Ireland are now outright favourites going into the World Cup, they do possess a vital component that many of their rivals do not - passion.

"Our passion on the field shows because we are really playing for something that has deep meaning to our nation. Most games, we’re not the favorites, and we’re certainly not the biggest nation size-wise, either.

"Even within Ireland, rugby isn’t necessarily the biggest sport — we often compete with Gaelic football, hurling and soccer for the nation’s attention. For these reasons, being competitive at the international level is a massive challenge.

"But our national side responds to that challenge the only way the Irish people know how."

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