Jamie Heaslip: ‘Happy to qualify obviously, but we’ve got a big challenge’ ahead

Jamie Heaslip: ‘Happy to qualify obviously, but we’ve got a big challenge’ ahead

By Grainne McGuinness and Shaun Cronin

Speaking in the moments after Ireland’s narrow victory against Italy yesterday, Jamie Heaslip was focused on rest and recovery in order to be ready for France.

Ireland will play the French next Sunday knowing the match winners will play Argentina in the quarter-finals while the runners-up will face the mighty All-Blacks.

Heaslip was asked how much thought he had given to France.

“I haven’t looked at them yet, I’m sure the management have been looking at them for a couple of weeks,” he answered. “All I’ve seen is from the games I’ve been watching during the World Cup.”

He was honest about the toll a tough game had taken on his body, and said Sergio Parisse and the rest of the Italian team had provided a tough challenge.

“I’m more looking forward to some recovery and a good night’s sleep right now,” he admitted. “Sergio had a good game, he carried very well and asked a lot of questions in defence.

“All their players played very, very well and challenged us in all facets of the game.”

Despite that, Ireland won out 16-9 and were pleased to have guaranteed themselves a place in the next round.

“We’re delighted to come out with a win, but we’ve got a lot to work on,” Heaslip said.

“We’re very happy to qualify obviously, but we’ve got a big challenge now and I’m going to rest up and get ready for it.”

The Ireland number eight drew positives from the game, despite the close result.

“I thought for the majority of the game our set piece was good, we got going on the maul a couple of times although we didn’t execute off the tail end of it,” he said. “I thought our scrum for most of it was pretty good to launch off and defend from.”

He was hopeful that Ireland’s luck would hold in relation to injuries.

“Obviously we want a full deck to pick from, that’s the ideal situation,” he said. “A couple of the lads have knocks and bangs, it was a pretty intense game, a pretty physical game.

“We expect no different next week.”

The Irish Examiner's Rugby Correspondent Simon Lewis gives his views on Ireland after their RWC clash with Italy at the Olympic Stadium.

Video by Dan Linehan.

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