Jamie Heaslip has suggested his body may not hold up for him play for Ireland at the next World Cup.
The Leinster back-row is one of the front-runners to replace Paul O’Connell as Ireland skipper, but the man long considered the ironman of Irish rugby today suggested he would be surprised if injuries and form saw him leading the line in 2019.
‘I don’t know, what did Paulie finish up at, 35? I’ll be amazed if I get to 35,’ said Heaslip, whose current Leinster and Ireland contract ends in 2017 and who just happens to hit 35 years of age ahead of the next Rugby World cup in Japan in 2019.
‘I’m 10 years in now and I’m still feeling good, so as long as you are feeling good I think you are OK.’
Heaslip is well-known for his wide range of interests outside the game, and while discussing his investment portfolio he came out with a warning about the importance of professional athletes preparing for the ‘afterlife’.
“The stats show that the average rugby career is 6-7 years, and we wouldn’t be on even a fraction of the money from the NFL,” Heaslip said.
‘If you don’t think about what we call the afterlife, you’re going to come out the other end and all these people that you thought were going to help you, they very quickly start not answering your calls.
‘You’re going to be sitting there with no-one else really to blame but yourself for not preparing.
‘The players’ associations are stepping up to the mark, we’ve got IRUPA and the NFL have really strong player reps, they just look after and prepare the players for that. IRUPA are getting better year after year, but any sportsman has to take on the responsibility yourself, you can’t have someone else do it for you.’