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Jamie Heaslip won't rule out move to France

By David Kelly

Jamie Heaslip has admitted that he may not finish his career in Ireland – and he revealed that he did not seek the advice of former Ireland team-mates Ronan O'Gara and Johnny Sexton before rejecting a proposed move to France.

"Johnny wasn't involved in my contract, no," said Heaslip, who also insisted that he didn't hear O'Gara's suggestions that this might have been a good time for him to play abroad.

Despite a transfer saga that featured several months of speculation, the former Ireland captain claimed that he took a back seat in the negotiations, although he did admit to visiting one French club and speaking to several others.

"Well, obviously I talked to clubs and I visited one facility," said Heaslip, who last month signed a new deal worth an estimated €1.5m (£1.2m) over three years.

It is believed that he visited Montpellier, while also holding talks with other clubs including Racing Metro, Toulon and Grenoble.

"I think it would have been silly not to," he added.

"What you've got to realise is that there's a business side to the game. The length of career is getting shorter.

"We're not on soccer player salaries, so effectively you can be a rugby player, then have to retire and start almost from scratch.

"To help yourself with that second start in life, you have to maximise what you can get out of the game, unfortunately, on the business side."

Still only 30, Heaslip still feels that he can satisfy his thirst for travel in conjunction with a professional career and he reckons he has many years left in the game – though not necessarily all of them with Leinster.

"If I get through the next three years and keep myself in good shape without too many injuries, I don't see why I can't keep playing and why I can't be of value to a club, be that here or abroad."

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