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Heaslip 'hurt' by IRFU treatment

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Heaslip 'hurt' by treatment from IRFU

Former Ireland international Jamie Heaslip has admitted he was “hurt and disappointed” with the way the IRFU handled his retirement last year.

Heaslip was pulled from Ireland’s match day squad to play England in the 2017 Six Nations due to a back injury, and complications with that problem saw him retire a year later. He represented Ireland 95 times in total, winning three Six Nations.

In his new autobiography, All In, Heaslip revealed that the IRFU made no effort to make his retirement until some senior Ireland players “kicked up a fuss”.

The former Leinster player said once he informed the IRFU of his retirement, his only contact with the organisation in the following weeks was a letter containing his P45.

“I was a bit hurt and disappointed by it, and I’m not embarrassed to say so, but it only emphasises how much the game is a business,” Heaslip states in the book, adding that the contrast with how Leinster marked his retirement was “remarkable”.

Heaslip was introduced to the crowd and received a special presentation at half-time during Leinster’s Champions Cup quarter-final last year.

He also details how he was forced to retire when a surgeon refused to sign off on him playing again. His injury also led to complications with two insurance companies, who would not pay out on a compensation claim due to forced retirement.

“I knew what my contract was worth and my insurers knew, and they provided cover, at a price, for circumstances in which I was unable to earn money from the IRFU and Leinster. If players actually looked at the insurance on their own playing contracts, they’d see it’s pretty pathetic.”

Heaslip is now preparing for a High Court case as he contests the decision of the insurance companies.

The former British and Irish Lion also explains how he got off to a bad start with former Ireland head coach Eddie O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan handed Heaslip his first Ireland cap in 2006, but according to the player, O’Sullivan repeatedly got Heaslip’s name wrong during early training camps. Heaslip says that O’Sullivan kept calling him ‘Graham’, which is the name of Heaslip’s brother, who O’Sullivan had previously coached with Connacht.

Heaslip and O’Sullivan are both panellists on RTÉ’s World Cup coverage in Ireland, and have been involved in some tense exchanges on air.

Watch: Joe Schmidt press conference 

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Heaslip 'hurt' by treatment from IRFU