Luke Fitzgerald says World Cup not to blame for poor start

Leinster player is confident that the team will get better as they get used to new set-up

Luke Fitzgerald in action against Bath: “I’d say absolutely not; the last thing we need is a break. We need to throw ourselves into it at this stage.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Luke Fitzgerald in action against Bath: “I’d say absolutely not; the last thing we need is a break. We need to throw ourselves into it at this stage.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Luke Fitzgerald is firm in his belief that the last thing Leinster’s Ireland squad members need is a break following their exertions at the Rugby World Cup.

The legacy of the tournament, mental, physical or both, tends to polarise opinion among players as the reintegration process in the provinces hasn’t been seamless in performance or result terms in the case of Leinster and Ulster, who meet at the RDS in a Guinness Pro12 game on Friday night.

“I’d say absolutely not; the last thing we need is a break. We need to throw ourselves into it at this stage. There is an awful of talent in the squad. What the guys up top – Leo [Cullen], Girvan [Dempsey] and Fogs [John Fogarty] – are doing is all the right things. Once we are a little bit more comfortable with the set-up, a little bit more comfortable with the messages they are trying to get across, the longer we have together, the better we will play,” Fitzgerald said.

Leinster played better in defeat against Bath than they had against Wasps but the outcome remained the same. Two matches in and the chance to qualify from their Champions Cup pool can be found a long way south of remote.

Second Captains

Limited opportunities

“From a backs’ perspective, I think we had limited opportunities but we would like to be more clinical and that’s something we talked about this morning. When [there is] pressure in different areas in the pack and things aren’t going to plan, the couple of opportunities that you do create become more important for the team and I think that’s something we could do better,” Fitzgerald said.

“We feel that we could probably kick a little bit better as well. Our accuracy at ruck time, we let ourselves down a little bit there and let the boys upfront down. The good thing about those things is that are all fixable and they are fixable quickly. We are pretty confident we can turn it around.”

Room for improvement

“I was disappointed; I think it’s a strong part of my game. Most guys are pretty good at that [attacking] but defensive IQ and commitment, it’s a real strong point of my game and I’m disappointed that I missed a few poor ones at the weekend that could have helped us out at different times. I’m looking at room for improvement.

“Playing off the back of the World Cup I was pretty happy with myself and Joe [Schmidt] was too; I met him last week and he was really happy too. I was disappointed I didn’t get more time. I felt the Wales game cost me a little bit, I was moved around a bit which was tough.

“I actually really like it at 12, it suits a lot of the attributes that I have. Hopefully I get more time there, that’s what I’m hoping for, to be in one position. I’ve said it before: you become a jack of all trades and a master of none.

“I think the left wing is a place that I’m very comfortable but I think 12 is a place that suits our personnel at the moment and a place that I like, so if I could stick there that would be great.”

Starting on Friday night.

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