Sport Rugby

Saturday 18 November 2017

Heaslip refuses to dwell on Saints error as he talks up Schmidt effect

Jamie Heaslip, Leinster
Jamie Heaslip, Leinster
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

JAMIE HEASLIP is not the type to let a moment like the last play of Saturday's defeat to Northampton Saints linger.

The Leinster No 8 collapsed to his knees and punched the ground as James Elliott ran the length of the field to score, having picked up the Naas man's dropped ball.

What made the moment worse was the knowledge that the Blues had a major overlap had Heaslip been able to get his pass away.

Heaslip is unlikely to play again until the new year and won't get a chance to get the incident out of his system on the field -- though he is determined not to let it fester.

He is enjoying a 'booster week' and plans to spend Christmas in London as he recharges after the November internationals and the exertions of the Heineken Cup.

A Goal Mile launch brought him back into contact with the real world from his break as a huddle of rugby journalists reminded him of that moment.

"I knocked it on, I didn't execute, I knocked it on," he said of his error. "He (Elliott) ran the length of the field and scored a try. How would you feel? It wasn't exactly a punch-your-fist-in-the-air kind of moment.

"Sport is a funny one. In a typical rugby season you probably have, what, 15-20 big games and some you win, some you lose. You want to win them all, that's the mindset you go out with.

"Sometimes it happens for you, others it doesn't go according to plan and you have to grind it out. Sometimes you do and you get the win and sometimes you don't.

"We have a lot to learn from that game going forward and the lads have a chance to be able to do something about it this week in Edinburgh.

"Yeah, it wasn't pretty and the review wasn't exactly great to be in, but you dust yourself off. There are so many games that you just have to get back up on the horse again.

"You have to look at it analytically, at the positives and the negatives. We weren't as accurate as we could have been at times and that's what happened at that level. They are a bloody good team and they showed it."

His booster week will be broken up by Joe Schmidt's Ireland camp on Sunday and the beginning of the planning towards next year's Six Nations.

Although Heaslip refused to go into the nitty-gritty of how the New Zealand defeat came about, he spoke of the progress made under Schmidt and the growing trust in the squad.

"He's a stickler for detail and puts a lot of onus on players to know their stuff. You're playing with good players, you've got to trust guys to do a job," he said.

"There's too much going on, you can't worry about someone else not doing their thing. You can't have weak links in the chain. Rugby is one of the few last proper team sports.

"You've people like Mike Ross and Rob Kearney, polar opposites in terms of body shape and athletic abilities, but they're all buying into the same system and all have to be able to do their jobs.

"If one doesn't, at international or club level, you just don't have the time to be filling in and doing someone else's."

Irish Independent

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