Sunday 26 January 2020

Heaslip not worried by poor start

Jamie Heaslip
Jamie Heaslip

Jamie Heaslip is unconcerned by Ireland's faltering start to the RBS 6 Nations as they address the fallout from their laboured 29-11 victory over Italy.

The Grand Slam champions justified suggestions the tournament lacks an outstanding team when they launched their title defence in unconvincing fashion at Croke Park. France, who are considered the most likely team to seize their crown, are next up and while Heaslip refuses to hit the panic button, he admits progress must be made this week.

"We were all over the place at points in the second half and lost our shape a bit," he said. "There was a load of kicking and it was hard to build any momentum, but we're happy with the way our lineout and scrum went."

He added: "The game got loose at times and we needed to buckle down. Instead of throwing the ball around we needed to square up a bit more. In the end we did. We'll improve on those things and hopefully be in better shape against France.

"There are little things that need to be tweaked. There's nothing to be worried about. A bit of tweaking and it will be fine.

"It was a first day out in a few weeks for some of the boys. It was good to get the win and get the ball rolling and I'm sure we'll be in good shape for next week.

"France will be as aggressive as the Italians and will look to attack a bit more. I don't know if they'll kick as much though."

Ireland were coasting in the first half as they amassed a 23-8 interval lead, Heaslip and Tomas O'Leary crossing for tries while Ronan O'Gara kicked 16 points.

Heaslip rounded off a clinically executed move for his score, opting to cross himself despite having support on his shoulder.

"I'm greedy and I like scoring myself!" he said. "There were good odds on me scoring and a few of my mates had a punt on it so why not. I'm happy to get the try and kick it off."

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