Friday 17 November 2017

Jamie Heaslip keeping grounded after nine-try win over Italy

Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is tackled by Andries van Schalkwyk of Italy
Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is tackled by Andries van Schalkwyk of Italy

Aaron Gallagher

Jamie Heaslip has said Ireland cannot overestimate the significance of their massive 63-10 bonus point victory over Italy this afternoon, which saw hat-tricks for both CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy send Joe Schmidt’s side temporarily top of this year’s Six Nations.

A bonus point victory was required following last weekend’s shock defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield - the side’s first opening day Six Nations win since 2006.

Ireland dominated Conor O’Shea’s lacklustre Italy side from start to finish at the Stadio Olimpico, with a late flurry of tries presenting a second-half hat-trick for Craig Gilroy, who replaced Robbie Henshaw.

“We never get too carried away and we try to stay in the middle,” said Heaslip, who captained the side following the late withdrawal of Rory Best on account of a stomach upset.

“Last week was a tough loss but we knew there wasn’t too much wrong. We just had to correct ourselves on clinical moments, and I think we did that.

“The bench came on and added a lot of value. A lot of people stood up today and carried well. We got the outcome we wanted, we have to regroup and not get too carried away and just focus on the next game against France."

Ireland welcome Guy Noves’ France side to the Aviva Stadium Saturday week knowing one win and two bonus points from their opening two games does not put them entirely out of sight for this year’s title. 

Heaslip added that the team have to recover and put the opening weekend loss firmly behind them if they are to stand any chance on the final day against England.

“It’s always nice to win (because of) the result we got last week. Italy were going to poise us a massive challenge. I think we got a lot of lucky bounces, if we are honest. But all credit to the boys, we stuck to it, we scored a try with a man down, everyone knew their job and lived in the moment.

“Obviously we would like to be two from two, but we’re not: we’re one from two. We have two bonus points on top of that, so that’s the position we are in and we have to regroup, recover, get a bit of rest time and focus on the next game.”

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