Jamie Heaslip agrees new Leinster deal until 2020
Contract yet to be signed but Ireland number eight looks set to finish career in Dublin
Jamie Heaslip has agreed a new deal to remain at Leinster under national contract until 2020. Photograph: Inpho/Ryan Byrne
Heaslip, who recently turned 33, reached terms with the IRFU several weeks ago but was waiting, as with his previous contract, a top-up payment via Leinster. He was previously sponsored in this regard by Bank of Ireland.
The new contract, while agreed by all parties, has yet to be signed.
Capped 91 times by Ireland and a two time Lions tourist, Heaslip is considered the most durable player in Irish rugby and was reportedly the highest paid – signing a deal in 2014 worth around €500,000 a season after it was revealed he was about to sign for Toulon.
When interviewed by BT Sport in December, the week of a Champions Cup game, the Leinster and Ireland vice captain was asked if he was going to remain in Dublin after this summer.
“I’m giving myself thought to everywhere to be honest,” Heaslip responded.
“A player has to assess his options. My agent [Damien O’Donohoe, Ikon] is assessing my options for me.”
“There might be [options to move abroad]. I have travelled a lot in my life. I’m an army brat. If that’s the call I have to make that’s the call I have to make.”
It now looks like he will finish what would be a 15 season career with Leinster.
Heaslip didn’t fully commit to the professional game until he was 22, a year after being nominated as under-21 world player of the year following Ireland’s progress to the 2004 world cup final.
He was also nominated for world player of the year in 2016.
“As would be the case with other players we don’t usually discuss them in this forum,” said Leinster coach Leo Cullen. “Things are progressing well with Jamie. I will probably leave it at that.”
On Stuart Lancaster being linked to the recently vacant Leicester Tigers director of rugby role – following the dismissal of Richard Cockerill – and the Connacht job, Cullen said: “It’s a difficult question to answer. Yeah, Stuart has gone well. We are having discussions all the time. It is all ongoing. We will see. I’m sure you guys will be first to know if we have anything to announce.”
Lancaster recently confirmed he had no discussions with Bristol prior or since Lam was confirmed as their incoming head coach.
Cullen directly recruited the former England head coach earlier this season in a “senior” position after defence coach Kurt McQuilkin returned to New Zealand for family reasons.