Saturday 25 January 2020

Matt O'Connor: Jamie Heaslip will deliver for us as captain

Declan Whooley

Leinster head coach Matt O'Connor has admitted that considerable thought went into choosing Jamie Heaslip as the new club captain and insisted he will be ably assisted by his team-mates.

This week the Australian-born coach named the former Irish captain as the permanent skipper, with Sean O'Brien and Rob Kearney chosen as vice-captains, but insisted that he expects others to step up to the mark in terms of leadership over the course of the season.

"There is a huge amount of leadership and experience in our group," he told Independent.ie.

"It's a tremendous honour for Jamie, Sean and Rob to be chosen as the representatives of the group. I think Sean and Rob are very capable vice-captains. There are a handful of guys in the environment capable of doing that job as well," he insisted.

Starting into his second season in charge, the former Leicester Tigers head coach claimed that management took their time before choosing the number 8 as Leo Cullen's successor.

"It's something taken very seriously in this group. A lot of thought goes into that process."

Leinster forwards coach Cullen believes that Heaslip's professional approach makes him the ideal candidate to take over the role he himself carried with such distinction.

"He pretty much did the role last year was the way I would see it," he admitted.

"I was pretty much there as an assistant role. Playing with Ireland, playing with the Lions, he has so much experience. He brings professionalism to the role. He is a phenomenal trainer and incredibly consistent."

"It was a bit of a no-brainer really in terms of selection," he added.

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