Luke Fitzgerald could make Leinster return against Connacht

Sean O’Brien, Rob Kearney and Marty Moore unlikely to feature in Sportsground clash

Luke Fitzgerald could return for Leinster’s trip to play Connacht. Photograph: Inpho

Luke Fitzgerald could return for Leinster’s trip to play Connacht. Photograph: Inpho

 

Luke Fitzgerald is fully training and expected to feature as Leinster seek to remove Connacht from top of the Pro 12 at the Sportsground this Saturday.

Fitzgerald, who missed the entire Six Nations after damaging his knee in an open training session at the Aviva stadium, will not be joined by Sean O’Brien while Rob Kearney and Marty Moore are also unlikely to recover in time.

“Luke Fitzgerald is back, Marty and Rob are very close and just continuing their rehab so we’ll see during the week,” said backs coach Girvan Dempsey.

It’s unclear what Ireland players will be available for the Galway meeting as last season former coach Matt O’Connor had to do without several of the Six Nations champions for a crucial game against Glasgow.

Second Captains

Leinster drew 34-all and subsequently missed out on a top four finish, which led to O’Connor, now at the Queensland reds, losing his job.

Jack Conan has suffered another set back - three to four weeks - after breaking another bone in his foot.

Connacht are currently one point clear of Leinster with five matches left in the regular Pro 12 season.

Regarding reports that Leinster have signed 24 year old New Zealand scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park as a project player, Dempsey said: “We are constantly looking at our squad and trying to recruit. It’s something we can’t divulge at this moment in time as nothing has been finalised in terms of contract.”

The 24 year old, who has 30 Super Rugby caps for the Hurricanes and the Blues, fits the criteria for what Leinster have been looking for now that Eoin Reddan and Isaac Boss reach the end of their careers.

“Isaac Boss and Eoin Reddan, their age profile [both turn 36 in 2016], both are performing well for us, but there are contract negotiations going on and we want to see what they want to do. We are looking at that position, certainly. We are always looking at other players that can add value to the group if we want to compete in Europe.”

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