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Defeat drives Heaslip

Jamie Heaslip admits Ireland's feeble surrender to England at Twickenham last year left a deep scar.

The Irish were routed 30-9, with a disintegrating scrum - tighthead prop Mike Ross suffered a neck injury early in the game - the source of their downfall. The RBS 6 Nations rivals meet on Sunday and the potential championship decider is their first opportunity to avenge that defeat, but Heaslip has stressed that cool heads are more important than fire and brimstone.

"We strive to be a consistently good side and always want to do the jersey proud," the Ireland captain said. "On that day we were sat in the changing room afterwards feeling that we hadn't done the jersey proud. Not many people in the team could say they'd done a good job."

He continued: "We came off second best and we had experience of that in New Zealand as well. There are tough days in any office. You learn from it and go on.

"I haven't looked back on that England game much, it was pretty grim in the changing room afterwards. It wasn't a proud to be as a professional. Any big loss you bank, but the engineer in me means I try to be clinical. You don't want to let the emotion come into it."

Scotland's Lions legend Jim Telfer caused a stir during the build-up to the opening round of the Six Nations when he accused the England of being arrogant, but Heaslip is wary of inciting the tournament favourites.

"I met (England captain) Chris Robshaw two weeks ago and he was a lovely guy. I can't say a bad word about him," he said.

"Any of the guys from the England set up that I've played with have been great guys."

Ireland coach Declan Kidney named an unchanged starting XV against England after centre Gordon D'Arcy and flanker Peter O'Mahony were passed fit. D'Arcy has recovered from the dead leg he sustained against Wales, while O'Mahony has been given the all clear after suffering concussion in the same match.

An attritional championship opener at Millennium Stadium also saw centre Brian O'Driscoll, flanker Sean O'Brien, full-back Rob Kearney and prop Ross incur knocks that have cleared up during the week.


From Belfast Telegraph