Rugby

Boost For IRFU As Former New Zealand U20 Captain Announces Intention To Play For Ireland

Boost For IRFU As Former New Zealand U20 Captain Announces Intention To Play For Ireland

In the week that World Rugby announced a desire to change the residency rule - another New Zealand born player has committed his international future for Ireland.

Former New Zealand U20 captain Jake Heenan will qualify for Ireland in late June - right after the three test tour to South Africa. It was rumoured that Heenan still wanted to return to New Zealand to challenge for All Black honours - but he has enjoyed himself so much in Galway that he has chosen to stay.

Heenan's Connacht career has been a mixed bag. When he's been on the pitch Heenan has been near unplayable - showcasing his obvious ability that made him a captain of the New Zealand U20s. A very smart operator and an outstanding poacher - Heenan has been forced to spend extended periods of time on the sideline various injuries. The 24-year-old has only made 30 appearances for Connacht in his three years at the province.

I've every intention of playing international rugby. For me, it's about having a good pre-season - I'm not eligible until mid-June - so, have a good pre-season come back in good shape and put the performances in and hopefully put my hand up for November.

I have every belief that I'm good enough and that I'm able to put in the performances needed to play.

Heenan says he has spoken to Joe Schmidt about his availability, and having signed a two-year extension back in April - he is looking forward to the possibility that it brings.

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George Hook will be happy. After crying out for a 'real' seven for Ireland - Heenan looks like the most natural openside Ireland will have. He'll just have to beat out Sean O'Brien, Tommy O'Donnell, Josh van der Flier, and Chris Henry for some gametime.

With gruelling tests against New Zealand and Australia to come in November - Heenan might get a chance against Canada on November 12th.

[Newstalk]

See Also: Could This Be The Beginning Of The End Of The 'CJ Stander Rule'?

Conor O'Leary
Article written by
"That's what." - She.

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