Michael Jordan has always insisted that his successes on court with the Chicago Bulls were born of his willingness to fail, fail and fail again, and Jamie Heaslip has taken a similar approach after Ireland’s Six Nations loss to England last weekend.
The defeat, though disappointing, has not cost Joe Schmidt’s side the top spot in the tournament after three rounds thanks to a superior points difference to England, Wales and France, who have also won twice and lost once so far.
“There’s a really cool exhibition going on in the [Trinity College] Science Gallery, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, it’s called ‘Fail Better’. You’ve got to learn from your mistakes and fail better. That’s what it’s all about,” reasoned Heaslip.
“We’ve got two teams to come in Italy and France who can punish you. We know from last year over in Rome that you’ve got to be on top of your game to beat Italy.”
For Brian O’Driscoll it will likely be his 15th appearance against the Azzurri. He has managed six tries and been sin-binned twice in those 14 meetings but this will also be the centre’s final outing in a green shirt on Irish soil, 15 years after his first.
Heaslip, who has soldiered alongside him for the latter half of that career, believes the day will not pass without emotion but that it will be utilised as an extra driving force as O’Driscoll and the team look to take another step towards their first title since 2009.
“I’m sure he is going to have his parents there, his wife, his kid [Sadie], his sisters, buddies and, if Joe picks him obviously, it will be a great day. I would love to be on the pitch with him.
“It would be even better if we can go about our business as we have done the last couple of years and execute. Hopefully the outcome takes care of itself but I think he’ll tell you it ain’t going to be easy.”
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