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Jamie Heaslip — ‘There is a lot more to me than just rugby’

Extra.ie logo Extra.ie 12/01/2018 Patrick Lynch
a man holding a ball © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

Jamie Heaslip is one of those sportspeople that divides opinion, despite being a massively consistent and reliable figure at the heart of Leinster and Ireland.

Up until last year, the burgeoning number eight had one of the most enviable injury records in the whole sport, hardly ever missing a game through injury.

Indeed, he has been a linchpin in the major success that Ireland has enjoyed over the past 10 years and nobody can dispute the undeniable key role he played in Ireland’s Grand Slam triumph in 2009 and subsequent Six Nations victories in 2014 and 2015.

a blurry image of a man: Schmidt's team glaring error © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland Schmidt's team glaring error

Yet, the 34-year-old is still given a hard time by the media, often harshly criticised for having a keen interest in other ventures outside rugby.

Heaslip has not played since March. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images): Wales v Ireland – RBS Six Nations © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland Wales v Ireland – RBS Six Nations

However, Heaslip does not let any negative press get him down and explained how he deals with such criticism.

Speaking on the Left Wing podcast he said: ‘My dad overheard me when I was in school reading the Leinster Leader, just the report of a game from the weekend, I had had a good game.

‘I got off the phone and my dad goes, “I’ll give you one piece of advice when it comes to media and rugby. If you believe all the good stuff they’re writing about you, at some stage they are going to write something bad and you’re going to have to believe that as well because that’s how your belief system is set up”.

a man wearing a uniform © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland a close up of a man © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

‘I was like, “That’s a good piece of knowledge”.

‘The second principle is that the person with the opinion that matters in rugby is the guy who picks the team.’

Heaslip also explained he has a deep love for the sport, despite having other interests.

a man with a football ball © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland Heaslip does not let any bad press get him down. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile: Leinster v Zebre – Guinness PRO12 Round 13 © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland Leinster v Zebre – Guinness PRO12 Round 13

He said: ‘A way of putting it and Joe Schmidt actually said this to me one day. I’m not anchored to rugby like others might be.

‘I love rugby, I’m unbelievably passionate about it and I want the sport to grow, I want more journalists writing about it, I want more people involved in it, I want more games, I would love if Leinster could play in the Aviva every week or rebuild the RDS to a 25,000-seater and fill it every week.’

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