He has long been touted as a future Irish captain but Jamie Heaslip looks set to take the armband sooner than anticipated.
There are still some tickets left for Ireland’s clash with South Africa through ViaGoGo
When Declan Kidney names his side to take on South Africa it is widely expected that he will entrust Heaslip to lead Ireland out at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Ireland’s injury woes have stripped the team of captain Brian O’Driscoll and his two lieutenants Paul O’Connell and Rory Best who would usually deputise for him in his absence. The void of experienced leadership means that Heaslip is expected to step into the role many judges had earmarked him for.
The pressure will be on the number eight from Naas as his experienced international back row colleagues Stephen Ferris and Sean O’Brien are two more victims of the injury jinx that has struck Ireland. The Leinster star is expected to be joined on Saturday by his provincial team mate Kevin McLaughlin and Munster’s Peter O’Mahony.
Speaking earlier this week the Leinster star outlined how Ireland have to play in order to have a chance of beating South Africa on Saturday.
“South Africa have a big bruising pack that try and knock you off the ball really and we have to front up and tackle them, meet them in the contact zone, meet them in the collision zone and win it. When we have the ball we have to carry hard ourselves and provide quick ball for our backs. We have a very potent backline that can score tries from anywhere,” he explained.
The only other name in the frame for the vacant captain’s armband against the Springboks is Jonathan Sexton but Kidney is expected to name his Leinster colleague in that role this afternoon.