Heaslip is man on a mission

Jamie Heaslip is out to prove a point when Ireland take on the All Blacks in Wellington this weekend - and give Ian McGeechan something to think about ahead of next year's British & Irish Lions tour. [more]

Heaslip is man on a mission

Jamie Heaslip is out to prove a point when Ireland take on the All Blacks in Wellington this weekend – and give Ian McGeechan something to think about ahead of next year’s British & Irish Lions tour.

The Leinster No 8 man has started the last five Irish internationals and is on the verge of becoming a regular in the otherwise Munster dominated pack. Next up is to nudge the Lions selectors.
The scorer of two tries in Ireland’s pre-tour warm-up victory over the Barbarians in Gloucester, the 24-year-old is hoping the Irish can build on their Provincial success this year which saw Leinster win the Magners League and Munster take the Heineken Cup for the second time.
"We’re all in New Zealand to prove a point and show that we are winners and hopefully that will come through on Saturday," said Heaslip.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of trying to help this Irish side become the first to beat the Al Blacks. To do that, we’ve got to be focused and know our jobs. “We’ve only really got the squad together this week, but we’re in good fettle and will be well prepared.
"No one really expects us to win and no one is expecting big things from us. Maybe that’s unfair considering the quality we have in the side.
“Munster won the Heineken Cup and at Leinster we won the Magners League. There are two cups back in Ireland and we want to show people how and why we got those trophies.”
It will be the first time Heaslip, who became Ireland’s 1,000th capped player last season when he made his debut against the Pacific Islands, has played against the All Blacks at senior level, but he already knows a thing or two about his opposite number, Jerome Kaino. The All Blacks’ No 8 went head-to-head with Heaslip in the final of the 2004 IRB Under 21 World Championship final in Scotland and then pipped the Irishman to the IRB’s Young Player of the Year Award.
This time, however, it will be Heaslip who goes into the game as the senior partner with eight caps to Kaino’s two as Ireland try to make it a happy 21st in their series of Tests against New Zealand with a first win..
“Set pieces are going to be crucial, ruck time is going to be crucial. Quick ball is going to cause problems and we’ve got to get that for our backs,” said Heaslip.
“We’ve got to win all our set piece ball nice and cleanly – that’s essential. The team that makes the least mistakes will win because both teams are capable of punishing teams that make mistakes.”

New Zealand: M Muliaina; A Tuitavake, C Smith, M Nonu, S Sivivatu; D Carter, A Ellis; N Tialata, A Hore, J Afoa, B Thorn, A Williams, R So’oialo, R McCaw (captain), Jerome Kaino.
Replacements K Mealamu, J Schwalger, A Boric, A Thomson, J Cowan, S Donald, L McDonald.
Ireland: R Kearney; S Horgan, B O’Driscoll (captain0, P Wallace, T Bowe; R O’Gara, E Reddan; M Horan, J Flannery, J Hayes, P O’Connell, D O’Callaghan, D Leamy, D Wallace, J Heaslip.
Replacements: G Dempsey, G Murphy, P Stringer, S Jennings, M O’Driscoll, T Buckley, R Best.
Referee: Chris White (England)

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