14 May, 15:49
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In the immediate future Heaslip will be hoping that Leinster beat Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park and do enough to qualify for European club rugby's knock-out stages before he switches his focus from club to country when Ireland kick-off their championship campaign against Wales in Cardiff next month.
And doubts over Leinster clubmate Brian O'Driscoll's fitness mean that Heaslip - a Heineken Cup winner in 2009, 2011 and 2012 - has been awarded the captaincy of coach Declan Kidney's squad that includes six new faces in Robbie Henshaw, Paddy Jackson, Ian Madigan, Paul Marshall, Dave McSharry and Lewis Stevenson.
"I was incredibly honoured when Declan asked me back in November to lead the team in Brian's absence," said Heaslip.
"To lead your country is the ultimate in any sport. To get the opportunity again, considering what an inspirational leader Brian is and the other players who could have been chosen to captain the team, is even more humbling.
"I know Brian as a team-mate and as a friend and I will be relying on his and the other players support as we head into the Championship."
Kidney added: "Jamie had done a really good job for the squad and management during November and I felt that now was the correct time to do this.
"Brian has had very little rugby in the last number of months and I think he deserves the space and time to concentrate on getting himself back playing fully fit.
"We need Brian the player just as much as we need Brian the captain and typical of the man and the selfless way he has contributed to Irish Rugby and the Ireland team, he has said that the captain and the team would have his full support."