Leinster lose Fitzgerald again to long-term injury

Back to have surgery after tearing anterior cruciate ligament


The return of Gordon D'Arcy from a foot injury is scant consolation for Leinster this week as they have, yet again, lost Luke Fitzgerald to a long-term injury.

Fitzgerald tore his anterior cruciate ligament just 10 minutes after replacing Keith Earls in Ireland’s defeat in Rome on Saturday and will require surgery. It is the 25-year-old’s third serious knee injury since turning professional in 2006.

The 2009 Lions Test winger also saw his contractual status reduced from international to a one-year Leinster deal after a neck injury last year. That deal is due to end this summer.

The real shame is Fitzgerald had done enough in the handful of minutes for Leinster this past month to regain a place in Ireland’s Six Nations squad.

Signs of form
“He was starting to show some real signs of form,” said Leinster assistant coach Richie Murphy, who also confirmed a new contract has been offered to Fitzgerald and agent Fintan Drury.

“There’s an offer on the table for Luke and he should be back at the start of next season, and as far as I know the contract that has been offered is still there and available.”

Leinster manager Guy Easterby added: “It’s the same knee, no damage to the old injury.”

“Luke works really hard to make sure he’s in good condition, he prides himself on his footwork and his strength and power and his ability to beat people,” Murphy continued. “It’s a massive personal loss for him as he seemed to be really enjoying his rugby and for us it’s a big loss as well – losing a player of his calibre is never easy.”

Leinster will also be without three other first-choice backs to face Glasgow this weekend with Jonathan Sexton in a “boot for 10 days” having torn a tendon in his foot, Eoin Reddan is gone for the season with a leg fracture and Fergus McFadden is recovering from broken ribs.

Brian O’Driscoll is also facing a possible suspension for stamping. D’Arcy is fit and ready to play, while recently-capped hooker Richardt Strauss is back training and should be fit to return against Ulster next week or Wasps in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final on Friday fortnight.