sport

Heaslip: Ireland spirits high

Jamie Heaslip insists there is still plenty of confidence within the Ireland camp despite their recent defeat to South Africa.

Following the 16-12 loss to the Springboks - Ireland's fifth straight Test defeat - coach Declan Kidney has named a young side for Saturday's non-cap international against Fiji at Thomond Park.

Heaslip is one of three players who keeps his place and says the disappointing run of results has not had a negative effect on the morale of the squad.

"This is the third week of a good camp. The lads have been going well in training and there's a lot of excitement around. It's a good place to be," the back-row forward said.

Ireland led by nine points at half-time against South Africa but were pegged back after the break, with Ruan Pienaar scoring the only try of the match while Heaslip was in the sin bin.

Heaslip added: "We've looked at what we did right and what we done wrong against South Africa and then started focusing on Fiji.

"With Fiji we'll have to focus on ourselves. They're sevens world champions so they like an expansive game. At times the game can get a little bit fractured which they thrive on. We have to focus on ourselves, our structures and patterns.

"We have to concentrate on the basics because of the new faces and that's what we've been doing this week. We hit the ground running on Monday and everyone's been really focused. I can't wait to get out there."