Thursday 24 May 2018

WATCH: Luke Fitzgerald and Alan Quinlan pay tribute to Jamie Heaslip on The Left Wing

Jamie Heaslip has been forced to retire
Jamie Heaslip has been forced to retire

Luke Fitzgerald and Alan Quinlan has hailed Jamie Heaslip as for his 'remarkable career' after he confirmed his retirement from the game, as they offered their comments to Independent.ie's The Left Wing.

The Leinster player (34) is stepping down with immediate effect "in order to ensure my future wellbeing" and Fitzgerald was eager to offer his thoughts to the departing Irish great.

"He played a huge role," Fitzgerald told us. "He is probably Ireland's most decorated player at this stage and that is an incredible achievement.

"He is a guy his team-mates loved playing with. In those big moments he could step up and play a big role.

"The highlight was probably the Stuart Hogg tackle that helped up win the Six Nations in 2015. That told you everything you needed to know about the guy. When everyone else had stopped, he was there.

"Jamie was on the journey every day. He trained well every day and he was great to play with. He was a details guy and that's why he was able to be in the team for so long."

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Luke Fitzgerald and Jamie Heaslip celebrate at the final whistle of their 2009 victory against Scotland en route to winning the Grand Slam. Photo: Pat Murphy/Sportsfile

Quinlan was equally fulsome in his praise of Heaslip, as he saluted the Leinster and Ireland giant.

"He was incredibly talented," said Quinlan. "He didn't burst onto the scene and get a lot of attention or praise....but this guy was a player.

"Great No.8s have to be intelligent. Anthony Foley was a perfect No.8, an outstanding leader and Jamie was like that. In the right place at the right time. He has had a remarkable career and it is unfortunate that a guy who never got injured before has an injury that takes him out early.

"Playing 95 times for your country is phenomenal in such a competitive area."

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