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Stephen Ferris and Eddie O'Sullivan pay their personal tributes to Jamie Heaslip


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As Ireland's Six Nations campaign continued with a successful result at the weekend, this week opened with the ending of an era for Irish rugby.

Jamie Heaslip has called it a day, ending silverware-laden career with both Ireland and Leinster which saw him win three Six Nations including a Grand Slam as well as Heineken Cups with Leinster.

Former Ireland and Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris soldiered alongside Heaslip in the back-row at international level and as he told us on Monday Night Rugby, it was a pleasure.

"What an absolute legend on and off the pitch. A very decorated player but he's going to be missed obviously but he can retire and look back at his career with a lot of pride," said Ferris.

"He's one of the best No 8s I ever played with and packing down alongside him, you always knew Jamie would have your back.

"Eddie worked with him and Eddie didn't pick him for the 2007 World Cup but I think in that decision, Jamie just bounced from that and the negativity from that made him an even better player. And from the start of his career to the end of his career, he always performed at a level which was pretty hard to reach, so I've only good things to say about Jamie Heaslip."

Jamie Heaslip and Coach Eddie O'Sullivan ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Former Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan was also on Monday Night Rugby and discussed why Heaslip didn't make it into the squad for '07.

"People forget that when you don't pick someone that somebody else has held them out," said Eddie, listing some of the experienced back-rows at the time that Ireland were picking from including Denis Leamy.

"But once he got that No 8 shirt off Denis Leamy, he held on to it for a long, long time. So credit to him for doing that.

"And he's one everything in his career. It's always sad when a player has to hang up his boots because of an injury - it's not by his own choice."

And in terms of his place in the pantheon of the Irish greats, Eddie added: "The guy is one of the all-time greats of Irish rugby".  


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