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Jealousy driving us to beat Welsh – Jamie Heaslip

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Jamie Heaslip of Ireland

Jamie Heaslip of Ireland

SPORTSFILE

Jamie Heaslip of Ireland

FORGET revenge; jealousy will fuel Ireland's cause as they take on Wales in their highly-anticipated Six Nations meeting at Lansdowne Road this afternoon, according to vice-captain Jamie Heaslip.

While Ireland have struggled to match stunning provincial success on the international stage, Wales have lifted two championships in a row, reached the 2011 World Cup semi-final and dominated the Lions selection last summer.

Much of the build-up has focused on Warren Gatland's decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll and Heaslip himself from the final Lions Test squad, but the No 8 dismissed the issue out of hand yesterday.

And he says that the previous success achieved by the current champions will go out the window come kick-off as Ireland look to win both of their opening Six Nations games for the first time since the Grand Slam in 2009.

"I wouldn't say a frustration, you'd be jealous, obviously. I've lost count of the amount of Six Nations medals they have," Heaslip said.

"You'd be jealous, but on the other hand they're probably jealous of the success some of the Irish clubs have had, so it is a bit of a balance.

"On the international stage, I can't say anything other than I'm a little jealous of the success they have, but the great thing about sport is that it doesn't count right now. It really doesn't count. Last week doesn't count.

"The way this competition is, it's all on the day. It's almost like Heineken Cup rugby in that way, even though I know it's not straight knockout. You give them the respect that they deserve, but you park that and get on with it."

PREPARATIONS

Ireland trained at the Aviva Stadium yesterday as they put the final preparations in place for the sell-out clash.

And, while the television cameras will be trained on Gatland and O'Driscoll, scrum-half Conor Murray says the issue will not be a factor.

"You can't get away from it," he said. "There is going to be all sort of sub-plots that people will be bringing up and it is great for the public, it will create a lot of excitement for everyone around.

"But, all week we have blocked it out, it hasn't come up – any sub-plots or silly stories that seem to be dragging on. We're focused on the game, and I think the team is in a good mindset."

Irish Independent