Ireland International Reveals He Almost Ended Up Playing Super Rugby
Ireland and Leinster back-row Jamie Heaslip sat down with the The Rugby Business Network for a wide-ranging interview this week and made some interesting revelations about his career.
Turns out he very nearly went down the James Haskell route following the 2011 Rugby World Cup to play in Super Rugby via Japan.
The modern-day players, you know it’s not soccer money that we’re on, so you do have to look at the opportunities that are out there in the market. Especially in other rugby markets where there is a lot more TV money in those leagues and stuff like that, but then you also have to look at what is best for you as a player in terms of your overall wellbeing, how they will look after you, longevity, a mix of all those things.
As well as, in Ireland, we tend to be quite tribal and that’s where a club like Leinster – I’ve been playing representative rugby with Leinster since I was 14 or 15 – it’s amazing to be able to start out at 14, I’m 33 now, and still be playing in the blue of Leinster. It’s quite a unique thing in professional rugby that players stay with a club that long.
I think there are a lot more challenges now for professionals in terms of looking after themselves off the field, but up to this point I have, every time my contract is up, looked at different clubs.
Back in 2011 I looked at playing up until the end of the 2011 World Cup and then go off to Japan for a season then down to Super 15 rugby and make ala what James Haskell did, but once it all panned out it was better for me to stay in Ireland.
I’m delighted by the choices I’ve made, and I 100% stand by them, but at the same time I always tell players coming through that they have to be a little bit selfish in a way. They have to be happy with the deal they made, be it going abroad or staying at a club.
It’s a short time that we play, I think the average career ends in seven years, in Ireland there’s only 6% of players who have had a career longer than 12 years, so it’s over before you know it and you’ve got to be happy with the decisions that you make.
Heaslip was just 26 at the time and at the peak of his powers. Lucky for Ireland and Leinster he didn’t leave at the time as he has since enjoyed several successful years, while Haskell’s move didn’t quite go according to plan.