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Ireland 00:00 South Africa

Jamie Heaslip 'humbled' by Ireland captaincy

Last Updated: 08/11/12 3:22pm

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Jamie Heaslip: Thrilled to become Ireland captain

Jamie Heaslip: Thrilled to become Ireland captain

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Jamie Heaslip admits he was "humbled" to be asked to captain Ireland against South Africa this weekend.

With Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell and Rory Best injured, Heaslip will take the armband against the mighty Springboks at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.

Coach Declan Kidney chose Heaslip ahead of his Leinster team-mate Jonathan Sexton and the Irish will be hoping the No 8's luck holds - he has never lost as a deputising skipper in Leinster colours.

"I was getting my mate an engagement card when I got the heads up from Declan about it," Heaslip said.

"I was in Tesco and I didn't know what to do with myself. I felt like going out and celebrating. It felt like my first cap again.

"I received a text from (Leinster chief executive) Mick Dawson about my record, so no pressure there!

"It's great. I rang my parents straight away and I'm humbled by the decision. I'm proud to lead this group.

"Once we get on to the pitch everyone will be on automatic pilot because we have such great leaders within the team. It's talking after the dinner that's got me more nervous than anything else."

Kidney said: "We talked with Jamie about the job and he's shown good potential with Leinster.

"Although he'd probably deny it, Jamie is the consummate professional. When he turns up for work he's really zeroed in.

"That's a good place to start - leading by example. He's been part of this group for a few years now. There were other guys holding their hands up for the job but the time is right for Jamie.

"Who should be the next captain has been in my mind for a while. We'd been working on a new leadership group over the past year to make sure that when the day did come, it would be more of a natural progression than a shock to the system."

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