Fitzgerald given new deal by Leinster

 

Rugby: Luke Fitzgerald will remain with Leinster for at least one more season after finally agreeing a new deal with the province. The new contract, which was negotiated solely by Leinster after the IRFU withdrew the offer of a central deal earlier this year, will keep the 24-year-old in Dublin until next summer.

Fitzgerald, who is expected to be unavailable until the new year as he recovers from neck/shoulder surgery, had been considering a move overseas after the IRFU withdrew their offer which was believed to be in the region of €200,000.

However, his recent injury problems left the utility back in a poor negotiating position while Leinster had always maintained they were set on keeping Fitzgerald at the RDS. “Luke has been with us from the age of 18 . . . we would hope that he would be with us for a lot longer,” Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson said last month.

“He has been a fantastic player, will be a fantastic player and he’s very, very popular with the crowd. He has served us very well and we’re acutely aware of that. We want to make sure we can nurse him through this injury, get him back on the pitch and hopefully get him back playing for Leinster and Ireland in early 2013.”

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has also strengthened his options with the signings of South African second row Quinn Roux and New Zealand born back Andrew Goodman on one-year deals. Roux will come in for the departed Brad Thorn while Goodman can play in a number of positions in the backline.

"We are pleased to secure the signing of Quinn and Andrew who will bolster our second row and out-half/midfield options respectively,” Schmidt said this morning. "Quinn is a physically imposing forward with a burgeoning reputation in South Africa and he will add further competitiveness to the second row alongside Leo Cullen, Damian Browne, Devin Toner and Mark Flanagan as well as our other recent signing Tom Denton.

"Andrew is a quality player and has been a consistent place-kicker for a number of years. Both players are determined to make a positive impression over the forthcoming season and we are very pleased to have secured their services. We are also delighted that Luke has committed to the province for another year. Luke is an outstanding talent and he has played a major role in Leinster's recent success.''

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