Leinster to make call on Luke Fitzgerald later this week
Team manager Guy Easterby hopeful the player may be available this weekend
Leinster team manger Guy Easterby at yesterday’s press conference at Rosemount, UCD. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
The question has become dog-eared, so too the answer. Discussing Luke Fitzgerald’s fitness is akin to drinking soup using a fork, an exercise in frustration. Goodness knows what it must be like for the player. When he’s been fit this season, he’s been little short of brilliant.
Leinster team manager Guy Easterby sighs as a clarification is sought. “How did I know that would be the first question? Yeah, he’s doing okay. We’re still not sure if he’ll be available. We’re managing that injury. It’s a niggly one and it improves at times and it’s regressing at times. The good thing is we trust him to say he is right and the times that he has said that he has been outstanding: so it is as much about listening to him. We’ll make a decision about him later in the week, that’s the top and bottom of it.”
Easterby explained the province has been rigorous in trying to find a solution to the 26-year-old’s problem with his adductor/abductor muscle. “We make sure that they see the best person available and for Luke the best people available are in Ireland.
“We’d have no problem sending someone off somewhere (abroad). Luke’s getting the very best treatment and we’re probably going to just reassess that in the summer – not in terms of who he is seeing – but what the best case moving forward is in terms of getting him right. It’s about managing it and seeing if there any interventions needed to put it right.
“Because it’s a niggle rather than something (structural), it might sort itself out and again it might not. Obviously he’ll want to play for us again this season and hopefully that’s this weekend.”
Easterby confirmed that the IRFU have imposed no constraints on player selection ahead of the end of the season so Leinster will be able to opt for their strongest available side right through to their end of tournament.
When Easterby was questioned regarding the recent comments of IRFU president Pat Fitzgerald about a potential switch of province for Robbie Henshaw, if Ireland coach Joe Schmidt so decreed, he ventured: “I’m not sure where that came from but, I’m not going to be telling the IRFU president what he can and can’t say,” he said.
The anticipated arrival of David Nucifora to take up a position as the IRFU’s High Performance director has coincided with a little speculation that he might be tempted to redirect players to move across provincial boundary lines.
Easterby admitted: “I have only read what you (the media) have suggested. We would have to sit down with the guy who comes in and have a long and interesting chat.”
First, though, there are more pressing matters and that starts with the visit of Benetton Treviso to the RDS on Friday night. The nature of the last two matches, defeats to Toulon and the Ospreys, demands a positive reaction.
Leinster A have a huge incentive if they can beat Pontypridd in the British and Irish Cup semi-final at Sardis Road as the organisers confirmed that the final will be held at the home ground of the winners on May 23rd.
Meanwhile, JJ Hanrahan had a scan in Limerick yesterday and it revealed he suffered a torn groin in last weekend’s defeat to the Glasgow Warriors. He will see a specialist later in the week. It’s a blow to Munster a couple of weeks out from their Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulon.
BJ Botha also picked up a knock in that game, described as a “mild ankle injury”.