Fitzgerald return the perfect tonic for Schmidt

Luke Fitzgerald (pictured) could feature for Leinster in Saturday’s RaboDirect Pro12 clash against Connacht (7.45pm).

The Irish international returns to training this week after a miserable run of injuries and his recovery, along with positive medical updates on a number of high profile players, is welcome news to Joe Schmidt.

Leinster, defeated by Ulster on Friday night, will train today before breaking for Christmas Day and returning for a St Stephen’s Day session.

Coach Schmidt admitted: “Saturday night presents the squad with an opportunity to put the Ulster performance behind us but the improving Connacht side have proved very difficult to beat this year. They have recruited well, including a number of players we know well, and will look to dominate and to be as combative as they were in their win over us earlier in the season. We know from personal experience how good they can be and they’ll be disappointed that they didn’t make the most of their opportunities against Munster last Saturday, especially when George Naupou crossed the line late in the game. They’ll be frustrated by that and motivated by it as well so there is no doubt about how committed and passionate they will be arriving into the RDS. Hopefully we’ll be in a position to welcome back Luke [Fitzgerald], Eoin [O’Malley], Dave [Kearney] and Shane [Jennings] either this week or next.

“With a number of internationals set to be rested this weekend that presents some of the younger members of the panel with a further opportunity to gain experience that will hopefully add value to their development.”


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