Monday 16 December 2019

New contract to keep Leinster star at province for three more years


New deal: Heaslip. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
New deal: Heaslip. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

David Kelly and Cian Tracey

Jamie Heaslip is on the verge of signing a new deal which will see him stay at Leinster until 2020.

Although Leinster coach Leo Cullen would not comment on the ongoing speculation about the Ireland No 8, it is believed that Heaslip has already agreed a new contract.

Heaslip's last deal with the IRFU, partly subsidised by a private arrangement with Bank of Ireland, was worth €500,000 and, despite interest from a number of French clubs, it is not thought that his new contract far exceeds that amount.

"As would be the case with other players we don't usually discuss them in this forum," said Leinster coach Cullen yesterday. "Things are progressing well with Jamie. I will probably leave it at that."

Meanwhile, Cullen does not believe that World Rugby's new tackle laws will have a major impact on the game, simply because, in his view, they merely reinforce the rules that were already in place.

Leinster's Pro12 meeting with Zebre this evening will be one of the first games that will see referees have a zero-tolerance policy around high tackles in an effort to reduce the number of head and neck injuries.

Several coaches have already spoken out against the introduction of the new edicts but Cullen is adamant that little has changed from what was already in place.

"I don't think it's a drastic change," Cullen said. "All it is is enforcing you can't tackle high, but you couldn't before that. What's the change? So you can't tackle around the neck?

"There's more people commenting on the game, and there's a lot more footage of the game so there's greater scrutiny on us all, players, coaches and officials."

Cullen will welcome out-half Johnny Sexton back from a seven-week lay-off with a hamstring injury for tonight's game at the RDS.

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