Ireland Rugby great Jamie Heaslip opens up to The Rugby Business Network about his spectacular career filled with numerous personal and team achievements, but for now the fast paced life of a professional player prevents him from naming a particular highlight he cherishes above all others. Jamie is an exceptionally loyal and dedicated person, as he is just five caps away from reaching his 100th test with Ireland and has spent nearly two decades at Leinster. He discusses his reasons for sticking with this Irish club for so many years, even when the prospect of playing in Japan came up in 2011.
Having undergone back surgery in March this year, Jamie speaks about how the injury could have potentially ended his career, accepting and moving on from missing out on the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and how he is taking his recovery week by week. With Jamie out for the season, he has used his time wisely by attending Harvard Business School to take up an intensive four-day course in The Business of Media, Entertainment and Sport, which he found insightful.
Jamie is contracted with the IRFU until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but for the past few years he has been setting up some businesses and investing in others, but still acknowledges that it will be tough to transition into the business environment when he announces his retirement in the years to come. Jamie talks about the great assistance he and his teammates have received from Leinster and the Irish Rugby Union Players Association to try make their transition a bit easier.
Even with Jamie being smart about his future after Rugby by using some of his time to get involved in businesses, he is adamant that his focus is still firmly on playing Rugby. Although he admits that his injury has come with its challenges both on and off the field, but his positive outlook on life is keeping him motivated. When the day comes for Jamie to hang up his Rugby boots, he should have no problem with deciding what his next career move will be, as he insists that the business of sport is where his interests lie and would welcome any assistance from companies in this field. Jamie advises young professional players to work hard on the field, but during their downtime they need to switch off from the distractions created by the media and focus on their career interests away from the game.
“It will be a tough transition obviously, because you go back in at the bottom and you have got to learn and you have to check your ego, but I think the successful Rugby players always transition very well into that world once they apply the same skills that they have had in successful teams” – Jamie Heaslip (Ireland Eighth-Man)