Wednesday 25 April 2018

Jamie Heaslip excluded from Leinster European squad

Jamie Heaslip of Leinster during an open training session at Arklow RFC in Arklow, Co Wicklow. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Jamie Heaslip of Leinster during an open training session at Arklow RFC in Arklow, Co Wicklow. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Leinster number eight Jamie Heaslip has been left out of the Blues Champions Cup squad after failing to make significant progress on his long-term back injury.

Heaslip has been sidelined with the injury ever since Ireland's loss to Wales in last season's Six Nations and has not played a game of rugby since, missing both the Lions tour of New Zealand and Ireland's tour of USA and Japan.

The province were hopeful that he would be available for selection, but after suffering a setback in his return to training earlier this month, the 33-year-old has been from the squad.

The Ireland international will be ruled out of European competition until Leinster's fifth round clash against Glasgow in January, however, if Heaslip can regain his fitness before then, Leinster can include him in their squad on the Tuesday before any of their Pool games as long as they delist a player from their squad.

Heaslip spoke to Will Slattery at the National Ploughing Championships last week during a live episode of The Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast, but wasn't able to offer a firm date when he might be back on the pitch

"I actually don't have an answer for people" Heaslip said.

"It is pretty complicated what I've done. I'm literally taking it week by week - some days are good and some days are bad. I'm taking an opportunity, now that I'm not away playing games, to enjoy my weekend."

Until this setback, Heaslip had enjoyed a relatively injury-free existence as a professional player, but he has tried to see the positive side of his absence as much as possible.

"I've a growth mindset in terms of challenges and opportunities that arise with them," Heaslip said.

"The injury wasn't great timing considering everything that was at stake but the flip side is that I was able to plan holidays and plan trips and catch up with some friends and family that I haven't seen. I knew it [injury] would happen one day, it is rugby and you are going to get hurt, but I didn't think it would be such a serious injury."

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