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19th Nov 2014

Jamie Heaslip pays tribute to former coach Michael Cheika ahead of Wallabies clash

The Leinster back row has also dismissed talk of a momentum-building win this weekend

Patrick McCarry

The Ireland No.8 says he could not repeat some of the more colourful tales about the former Leinster coach in the training shed.

Heaslip was quick to shut down the opening gambit from the press corp – that Saturday’s game was crucial to Ireland keeping up momentum ahead of the 2015 Six Nations and World Cup. ‘We’ve a lot of games in between now and then,’ he said. ‘I don’t really but into that momentum stuff; it falls on deaf ears.’

Last year’s humbling by Australia has also been shelved by Heaslip as, he explains, the tourists have a new coach on-board, in Michael Cheika, and a whole new play-book. ‘They’re a good side and they’re always there or thereabouts in The Rugby Championship and World Cup.’

Asked if a team mirrors their coach, what could Ireland expect from the Wallabies, Heaslip remarked ‘I don’t think I could say it then’. The Irish vice captain added, ‘In the changing room and in the training shed, I don’t think stuff could be repeated at times. He is a very passionate man, who wears his heart on his sleeve and you definitely know what he is thinking.

‘In terms of organisation and thinking about the game, he is a very, very smart man. He always has the ability to come up with a couple of some real good, line-breaking moves. I know because I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of them… I’ve quite fond memories of Cheiks. He’s a unique character.’

Michael Cheika shares a joke with Jamie Heaslip 2/10/2007

‘When I was turning pro,’ Heaslip added, ‘it was great that my first coach was a former back-row player. I got some extra ttention off him and it was good… He will give (Australia) a unique insight into us that they may not have got before. He will be quite focused on getting Australia right.’

Heaslip was queried about the news that Chris Henry is out of the game for the foreseeable future due to a ‘temporary blockage of a small blood vessel in his brain’. ‘It’s never good hearing a player is out. All the players are thinking of him and he’s got the best help of all the people around,’ said Heaslip. ‘It’s not great having a player like that unavailable. It’s a big loss.’

Hat-tip to Word in Sport.

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