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The Power Of Positive Thinking
Ask Jamie Heaslip how we are going to do in the World Cup in the Autumn and he responds: “We’ll win it.” But he says a lot more too, in what is his most personal and in-depth interview ever...
Anne Sexton, 02 Jun 2011
You must have been gutted not to be chosen for the 2007 World Cup.
Yeah, I was. My professional career started in 2005, so that was the end of my second full season. I thought I’d done well in both the Magners’ League and the Heineken Cup and made it all the way to the last game before the squad was picked and I didn’t get the nod. So I was fairly gutted. It was one of the goals I’d set and I’ve set it again – so hopefully I’ll achieve it this time.
What do you think happened to Ireland during the Six Nations?
I think the games we lost, we lost due to our own mistakes. I think we’re the only ones you can blame. But I tell you what: I prefer to lose and learn from February, March and April than to lose and learn come September, October. People can come up with all sorts of reasons, but the level that we’re playing at – make mistakes and you get punished.
Is there much dirty play at international level?
No – there’s a lot of hard playing. I mean, you end up on the wrong side of a ruck you’ll get a bit of a ruck-in and that’s part and parcel of it. Contacts, tackles and carries by the big players are getting bigger and bigger. It’s getting a lot more physical. But you can’t (be dirty): There’s a lot more cameras. There’s citings that happen after games.
You got into trouble last year (Heaslip struck the All Blacks’ Richie McCaw).
I did. I got a bit carried away (laughs). I saw him killing the ball and tried to get him off it and that was that. I didn’t do it the right way and paid the price. Simple. I was sent home early and left the team in the lurch. The team had to play with 14 players for 60, 65 minutes of a game against the All Blacks, which is tough enough with 15 players, never mind 14. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever done.
How do you handle stress?
I tend to be very laid-back and not get stressed-out by a lot of things. Before games, I tend to get tired. I don’t get giddy. My first year, I’d be sleeping in the changing-room before games in that hour lead-up, because I’d be so tired from the stress. But the more and more I’ve played, my body’s got used to it. I don’t fall asleep now, but I do need a little caffeine hit.