Rugby World Cup 2011: Heaslip says Heineken campaigns help Irish

Jamie Heaslip
Jamie Heaslip has won two Heineken Cup medals with Leinster

Jamie Heaslip believes the experience of high-pressure Heineken Cup matches within the Ireland squad could help them in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against Wales.

The Ireland team is dominated by Leinster and Munster players who have won Heineken Cup medals.

"We've won four of the last six Heineken Cups and it's important to make that experience count," he said.

"The core of the team are made up of those players."

Heaslip has won two Heineken Cup medals with Leinster and he has returned to form in recent matches after struggling for most of this year in the green Irish jersey.

"Sometimes it's not the best team that wins, it's the team who knows how to win that succeeds," added the number eight.

"We have to draw on the experience of playing at knockout stages of the Heineken Cup.

"It's a real opportunity to do what no Irish team has done before and reach the semi-finals.

"It's an opportunity we want to take advantage of with both hands."

Heaslip added that the availability of hooker Rory Best is a "huge boost" to the Irish.

Best has been passed fit after being a doubt because of a shoulder injury.

"He's very experienced, a key member of this side," added Heaslip.

Ireland defence coach Les Kiss is expecting a close contest between the in-form Six Nations rivals.

"We've played each other so much in recent times that it's a fairly reasonable thing to say that it's going to be 50-50," added Kiss.

"There will be some critical pressure moments in this game. We need to be there or thereabouts in the last 20 minutes."