CAPTAIN JAMIE HEASLIP has revealed that he apologised to his teammates after Ireland lost 16-12 to South Africa at the Aviva Stadium.
The forward was sent to the sin-bin on 42 minutes with Ireland leading 12-3.
By the time he had re-entered the fray, his team had allowed 10 points, including a Ruan Pienaar try under the posts, and they never found a way back into the contest.
Heaslip admitted that the team was ‘a little bit frustrated’ not to be further ahead at half-time. Ireland led by nine points at the break but had missed out on punishing South Africa for JP Pietersen’s trip to the sin-bin.
He said, “We were still confident at half-time; we were very focused on what we had to do. We knew that at some stage they were going to have their purple patch and we wanted to keep all the momentum.
We started well, build up a lead and were getting good return on our shape and then we came out in the second half and, as captain, I should have been leading by example. It wasn’t a good example set, getting yellow carded.
“I put my hand up straight away afterwards. I’m better served on the field than off it.”
Monday morning mulling
Heaslip praised the efforts of the Ireland forwards, and Mike McCarthy in particular, for forcing their way back into Springbok territory in the final 20 minutes.
Jonathan Sexton had a chance to put the Irish ahead but his penalty dropped short and the miss was compounded when Heinke van der Merwe won a penalty out of Mike Ross 20 metres from the posts, allowing Pat Lambie to seal the win at 16-12. Heaslip commented:
We probably made a couple of errors again in the second-half where we let them off the leash a bit, inside their half and inside their 22.
We were guilty once or twice of not having the accuracy or the detail around the breakdown.”
“They’ve got some very good poachers in their team,” he added. “They got some good steals.”
As to how Ireland would move on from their fifth successive defeat, Heaslip said, “There’s so many games in the season. You have your wins, you have your losses. We’ll address it like we do always, as professionals.”
“Come Monday, everyone will have looked at the video at least once anyway,” he added. “The management staff will have looked at it around 10 times, knowing their work ethic.”
The moving on process, he declared, would be methodical but Ireland would be best served not to dwell too long on another loss from a losing position.