Rugby star Jamie Heaslip is flying high as he takes to the air on 2FM

Jamie Heaslip

By Laura Butler

From the airwaves to earning air miles, rugby star and aspiring pilot Jamie Heaslip has plenty to keep him busy off the pitch.

The Leinster and Ireland player took time out from training to follow in the footsteps of pal Brian O'Driscoll and make his presenting debut on radio.

The Kildare ace filled in for DJ Jenny Greene and joined Nicky Byrne on his weekday 2fm show yesterday.

And 30-year-old Jamie was so keen to spend an afternoon in the studio with the Westlife singer that he gave up a flying lesson for the experience.

"I skipped flying for you, Nicky - I'm learning to fly so I parked it for this afternoon to come in to you instead," Jamie said as they kicked off the show.

"I'm getting there. I've a couple of hours and a bit of a way to go - I wouldn't get in a plane with me just yet."

Irish and British Lion Jamie is not the only rugby player to show an interest in flying. Monaghan man Tommy Bowe (30) is training for his pilot's licence.

Another thing Jamie is doing away from the rugby pitch is becoming a publican.

He said he has been having a ball getting his bar, The Bridge 1859 in Ballsbridge, which he owns with Rob and Dave Kearney and Tullow Tank Sean O'Brien, ready for its opening at the end of the month

"It was in a bit of a state when we got it so we've been doing a big refurbishment and we're going to try and bring a bit more life to the area," he said.

"I frequent the pub a little too often and I thought it might be nice to own one. I liked the design part rather than the business."

Meanwhile, Nicky joked that he was "cheating" on his on-air wife Jenny while Jamie was filling in.