Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Jamie thriving for Ireland under Kidney

In every sense, Jamie Heaslip is bubbling at the moment.

In his current form, it seems almost impossible to think that he didn’t make Ireland’s World Cup squad in 2007, but he has thrived under Declan Kidney.

In successive weekends, two of the most highly rated No 8s in the world - Imanol Harinordoquy of France and Italy’s Sergio Parisse - were dismissed by Heaslip.

On top of that, he scored against Les Bleus with a sidestep that sent Clement Poitrenaud into a different time zone. Against Italy too, there was a telling break that led to David Wallace’s try.

It seems a formality that his name will be on the team sheet when England visit Croke Park, even though Kidney is acutely aware of Denis Leamy’s sublime talents in that position.

And Heaslip is itching for a crack at Martin Johnson’s men after their defeat at Twickenham last year.

"It wasn’t nice last year. Losing never is - especially against England.

“I’d love the chance to play, I think a lot of people have written them off and it’s unfair. Wales took one chance last weekend that turned the game and it was a turnover ball and anything can happen with those. We’re going to have our work cut out for us," said Heaslip.

A chance to make it three wins from three and a chance to leave England with only dark memories of Croke Park. In this time of doom and gloom, Heaslip and Co can give a nation something more to smile about on Saturday week.

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