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Heaslip riled up for English trip

Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip is licking his lips at the prospect of playing England at Twickenham on Saturday week.

"If it was table-tennis, you'd want to win against an Englishman. The fact that it's 15 of them makes it more enjoyable," grinned the Leinster and Lions backrow.

"The last time I played against England at Twickenham I was on the receiving end of another whopping, and I definitely don't want that to happen again because I know what the feeling was like over there. It was horrible."

In contrast, Heaslip was keeping his mouth almost shut over the citing of hooker Jerry Flannery for an "alleged" wild kick to the knee of France winger Alexis Palisson.

"I haven't seen Fla's thing (the kick), so I'm not going to say anything about that," Heaslip said.


"But things happen in games and you just have to get on with it. I played in games where we were down to 13 men against 15, you just buckle up. Jeez, I've been sin-binned plenty of times, especially this year with Leinster."

The penalty for such a proven act is a minimum four-week suspension, which would rule Flannery out of the Six Nations fixtures against England and Wales. The independent three-man disciplinary committee should hear the case tomorrow.

The mid-range sanction for the offence in contravention of Law 10.4 (c) is eight weeks, with a top end of 12 weeks, which can be extended to a possible year, thus putting in jeopardy Flannery's Six Nations campaign and Heineken Cup.

Should Flannery be suspended, Ulster's Rory Best will take the number two jersey after recovering from neck surgery in time for the Six Nations. Connacht's Sean Cronin and Leinster's John Forgarty would battle it out for a place on the bench.

Ireland also had to deal with the frustration of losing loosehead Cian Healy to the sin bin for playing the man without the ball.

"When things like that happen, it's literally in the blink of an eye. Half the time you're not even thinking when you're playing, you're just going off instinct. It's a shame. Cian, half a second later, maybe he wouldn't have got binned and (would have) saved the day," said Heaslip.

The Kildare forward also had an interesting spin on the Six Nations championship format: "It is a shame there is no bonus-points (system). I think it would reward teams for chasing games and not giving up games. It would reward teams for going out and getting four tries."

France's renowned inconsistency could make them vulnerable against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Friday week and Warren Gatland's men could blow the championship wide open.

"Plenty of teams have won the Six Nations by losing one game. Nothing's over, I mean, hell we won the Heineken Cup last year after we lost in our group.

"It happens, you lose games. It just shows you have to be able to bounce back."

Meanwhile, Munster centre Jean de Villiers will return to South Africa at the end of the season, stating that his desire to play for the Springboks at next year's World Cup was the main factor in the decision.

Also, Wales coach Warren Gatland has dropped Andy Powell from his Six Nations squad. Powell will appear at Cardiff Magistrates Court on March 2 charged with drink-driving after he was arrested on a golf buggy in the early hours of Sunday.