Heaslip gets up close and personal with Sharks

Jamie Heaslip warmed-up for his second outing with the British & Irish Lions against the Sharks on Wednesday night by swimming with the real things. [more]

Heaslip gets up close and personal with Sharks

Jamie Heaslip warmed-up for his second outing with the British & Irish Lions against the Sharks on Wednesday night by swimming with the real things.

The Leinster and Ireland No 8 went snorkling with metre and a half long sharks in Durban at the weekend to get a taste of things to come later this week.

And having enjoyed his first experience of swimming with the ocean’s most deadly creatures, he is now planning on getting up close and personal with some Great Whites when the tour moves on to Cape Town.

"Shane Horgan told me before I went on tour that there would be plenty of opportunities to do different things and that I should take them all," said Heaslip.

"I jumped at the chance to go swimming with some sharks when we arrived in Durban and it was brilliant. You get a few seals in Ireland, but certainly not sharks.

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"We went down in a cage to begin with and then we were able to swim alongside them. The guides said they were safe, but they told us not to pet them.

"Hopefully, in Cape Town we will be able to get into the cage and mix with some Great Whites. That would be fantastic."

Before then, though, Heaslip has got to run the gauntlet of South African rugby’s own Sharks team. It will be his second start on tour and another good game will edge him further ahead of Wales’ Andy Powell for the No 8 spot in the Test side.

"Springbok rugby is very power driven and they like to kick the ball. But they are big boys, they run hard and they are very aggressive at the breakdown," he added.

"We have to be more competitive at the breakdown because if we can get quick ball for our backs they can do some real damage."

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