Leinster's Jamie Heaslip has let it be known that he is surveying career options at home and abroad as the clock winds down towards the summer and the end of his current contract with the IRFU, writes Brendan O’Brien.
The number eight is approaching his 33rd birthday but his stock has never been higher after a superb trio of performances for Ireland in November and a nomination for the World Player of the Year award.
Heaslip is reputed to be the highest-paid player in the Irish union’s books after signing a three-year deal back in January of 2014 which, on the back of strong interest from Toulon which strengthened his bargaining position, was reported to be worth anything up to EUR1.5m.
The Naas native was interviewed by BT Sport ahead of Leinster's Champions Cup meeting away to Northampton on Friday evening and he laid down some interesting chips when asked if he was giving thought to the prospect of extending his stay with Leinster.
“I’m giving myself thoughts to everywhere, to be honest,” he said. “A player has to assess his options and my agent is out there assessing the options for me and we will lay it all out on the table and make a decision at some stage.”
Born in Tiberias, Israel and the son of an army officer, Heaslip has repeatedly spoken about the possibility that he might one day want to play his rugby outside of Ireland with his eyes stretching as far as a potential Super Rugby stint in one interview a few years ago.
There are any number of cities and countries that could still catch his eye, he said.
“There might be. I’ve travelled a lot in my life. I’m an army brat and we lived abroad plenty. If that’s the call I have to make then that’s the call I have to make. We’re a long, long way from making any sort of decision.”