JAMIE HEASLIP hopes to cap a remarkable year in style when he makes his 100th appearance for Leinster in their Heineken Cup clash with the Scarlets tonight.
The Naas-born backrower won a Grand Slam with Ireland, a Heineken Cup with Leinster and was a star of the Lions tour, and tonight he reaches a century of caps for his province, having made his debut in the 2004/05 season.
“When I first started playing for Leinster I had no idea that I would go on to win 100 caps,” Heaslip said. “It is a huge personal thrill for me. I suppose to reach this landmark at such a young age is strange, but great credit must go not just to my team-mates, but to all the coaches and fitness staff.
“There are a lot of demands on the medical staff day in, day out and they deserve great credit, so hopefully this won’t be the end but the start of a new era in my career.”
Heaslip will start alongside Kevin McLaughlin and Sean O’Brien in a combative back row unit, with skipper Leo Cullen partnering Scotland international Nathan Hines in the second row. Gordon D’Arcy teams up with Brian O’Driscoll in midfield, while Rob Kearney starts at full-back with Shane Horgan and Isa Nacewa on the wings. Shaun Berne replaces the injured Jonathan Sexton at out-half, with Eoin Reddan at scrum-half. Stan Wright returns from injury and takes his place on the bench alongside Bernard Jackman, Mike Ross, Malcolm O’Kelly and Girvan Dempsey.
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