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Killer time for Heaslip

Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip has compared the fall-out from his red card against New Zealand to being on trial for murder.

Heaslip was sent off just 15 minutes into Ireland's record 66-28 defeat in New Plymouth for kneeing All Blacks captain Richie McCaw. The 26-year-old then had to run the New Zealand media gauntlet as he attended a disciplinary hearing, which resulted in a five-week ban.

Heaslip insisted he had been irresponsible rather than malicious, but admitted the whole experience had taught him a valuable lesson, saying: "I know the media are intense in New Zealand when it comes to rugby. When I got to the hotel for the hearing there were loads of TV cameras and photographers - it was like a murder trial or something."

He added: "I'd never go into any game with the objective to hurt someone.

"It's not Tiddlywinks out there; I play the game hard and respect players who play hard, Richie being one of them, but I'd never want to hurt another player.

"Frustration got the better of me, maybe I didn't ruck responsibly, and I suffered the consequences.

"It's not something I'm proud of and being the only Ireland player to be sent off in professional rugby is not a great record, but I'm a big boy and I've learnt a lot. It's a life lesson."

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From Belfast Telegraph