Toughest duty of Heaslip’s maiden season as captain was ‘fronting up’ after defeat

Says Isa Nacewa was “hands down the best player I have ever played with”

Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip. Photogaph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip. Photogaph: James Crombie/Inpho


The toughest duty of Jamie Heaslip's first season as Ireland captain was facing the assembled media, along with Declan Kidney, immediately after defeat.

The All Blacks do it impressively, always presenting their full coaching ticket alongside with Richie McCaw. They call it “fronting up.”

Heaslip had to do a lot of fronting up these past few months.

"Yeah, that was new," he said yesterday. "Usually when we come to meet you guys it's a hour later as I've been in the shower a long time!

"The one thing that I learned is that you wear the wins and you wear the losses so much more as a captain.

"That [press conference]after the game is an extra role that I just hadn't expected to be as tough as it was."

The motivation of it potentially being Brian O'Driscoll's last test match was tapped into by Heaslip before last Saturday’s defeat in Rome.

"Something I said to the lads the night before the game was that this might be the last time some of the guys wore an Irish jersey and it was the last time others would get a chance to wear it for a couple of months.

"Have I gotten over it? I suppose, most of it, yeah. I haven't looked at the game yet, I'm going to do that tonight. I finally got the video. I purposely let myself switch off completely from the captain role and the player role. I met up with my buddies and had a bit of time off."

On Isa Nacewa's imminent early retirement, Heaslip added: "Isa Nacewa was hands down the best player I have ever played with - he is amazing, blows me away every time."