Ireland XV 52-0 Fiji, November 17
Heaslip hails defensive strength
ESPN Staff
November 18, 2012
Ireland's Craig Gilroy streaks away for a score, Ireland XV v Fiji, Thomond Park, Ireland, November 17, 2012
Ireland's Craig Gilroy speeds in to score one of his three tries against the Fijians © PA Photos
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Players/Officials: Jamie Heaslip
Teams: Ireland

Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip was full of praise for his side after they shut Fiji out in their clash in Limerick on Saturday night.

Heaslip, skippering an Ireland XV in a non-Test cap clash, was quick to express his pride in a young side that swept the Islanders aside 53-0 in a one-sided contest at Thomond Park. "I was quite proud of the performance of the squad," said Heaslip. "It was a privilege to lead out a side that was full of such an enthusiastic bunch of guys.

"We talked all week about focusing on our roles and getting the details right. I said during the week that we have been training really well and, against Fiji, we played how we trained. We didn't get any return last week (against South Africa) but I was quite proud to see the return we got this week."

He added: "I'm more pleased with the zero (conceded) than the amount of tries we scored, to be honest. It is really hard in international rugby, to be able to shut a team out and give them no scores at all. That zero was ... I'm more proud of that than the scores.

"It would have been really easy to take the foot off the gas coming into that last quarter but credit to the lads for not doing so. Fiji kept the pressure on and had a good bit of ball near our line but guys stepped up, put their bodies on the line and stepped up at pretty significant times."

Ireland will play host to Argentina in Dublin on Saturday in a game that is set to be crucial to both side's hopes of securing their place among the second group of seeds for next month's 2015 Rugby World Cup pool allocation draw.

Coach Declan Kidney admitted that he "certainly had a few selection choices" to make before the Pumas clash with hat-trick hero Craig Gilroy, flanker Iain Henderson and centre Luke Marshall among those to press their selection claims.

"It's a new time for Irish rugby," Kidney said. "There's a whole new squad coming through and some fellas got their chance and showed that they want more of it. It certainly makes going to work easier on Monday when you've got a win," he added.

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