Saturday 24 February 2018

Contracts must be sorted sooner, says Leinster's Jono Gibbes

Leinster desperate to keep hold of Heaslip as O'Brien suffers Six Nations blow

Jamie Heaslip takes a moment to himself during Leinster training yesterday
Jamie Heaslip takes a moment to himself during Leinster training yesterday
Leinster assistant coach Jono Gibbes
David Kelly

David Kelly

As the Jamie Heaslip transfer saga rumbles on, Leinster have expressed their disquiet at the pace of their star No 8's contract negotiations with the IRFU on a day they conceded that Sean O'Brien would miss at least the next two months with a dislocated shoulder.

"All those Irish guys want clarity as early as possible," said assistant coach Jono Gibbes.

"I don't know what the process is but in the last year of the contract, surely that can be done earlier than going into the Six Nations?

"I don't think that it is ideal, lingering around. I don't know the ins and outs, who has come to the table and who hasn't.

"But some guys surely are earmarked -- bang, get them done as early as possible. When you are talking about future, money and stuff, it is always complicated.

"There are always many factors involved. From our point of view it would be good to know as soon as possible."

Scrum-half and international colleague Eoin Reddan is hopeful that both Heaslip and O'Brien will stay and that Heaslip secures the best possible deal for himself.

"Of course, Jamie is a great friend of ours, and it was the same when Johnny (Sexton) left -- above all that is probably the thing you miss the most," Reddan said.

"That is probably the reality and because of that you do want him around.

"I also hope for his sake, if he can sort out the financial side of the deal, that he's going to be in the best place for him, and I think everyone agrees with that.

"I hope for his sake he gets the dream goal, which is to stay in Leinster and sort out his financial affairs.

"Loyalty definitely comes into it but it's funny because the contract talks are with the Union and not with Leinster... it does put different people at sides of the table.

"He can still play for Ireland I suppose. It would be tough, but I can't speak for Jamie or anyone leaving a club that you have come through, especially Jamie as he's been through everything with Leinster, ups and downs.

"It would be very tough if he does want to go... I don't think he does, but hopefully it gets sorted out for him."

Gibbes was uncertain as to the extent of tendon or ligament damage to O'Brien's shoulder but he hopes the surgery this week will not rule him out of the entire Six Nations, although surely now any overseas move is in jeopardy.

"Without knowing a massive amount about it, the positive is that he hasn't had too much shoulder injuries and it's a dislocation," said Gibbes.

"They are going to go in there and fix it surgically, but with no complications he could get back and play some footie this year.

"I don't think the injury will hamper his market value because, the way he plays, every club will have to factor in the risks of having him on their books.

"We see a hell of a lot of positives at having him here. Ireland and Leinster will do everything they can to keep him."

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed to the Irish Independent that Brian O'Driscoll has no editorial input to the Ultimate Rugby Twitter account that, on Sunday night, highlighted unconfirmed reports that Heaslip had signed for Heineken Cup holders Toulon.

O'Driscoll and entrepreneur Ray Nolan joined forces to launch the Ultimate Rugby application last year.

Irish Independent

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