Friday 15 December 2017

Fitzgerald set for dramatic Ireland recall

Luke Fitzgerald (inset) is primed to be recalled by Ireland for the first time since November 2013.

He had been hostage to a long-term hip/groin injury, even seriously contemplating retirement, until this season when he has showed all the old sparkle that made him a 2009 British & Irish Lion.

The elusive left wing has played twelve times for Leinster this season and has finished out all 80 minutes of his eleven starts.

Fitzgerald (27) won the last of his 27 caps when introduced as a replacement against New Zealand in that heartbreaking defeat.

It is believed Simon Zebo's slip in standards against Wales has opened the door for Fitzgerald, apparently flying out in Carton House.

Leinster loose-head Cian Healy could also come in for Jack McGrath in what would be a rotation selection with Healy now approaching 100% after his impact role in the Six Nations.

There could be a case made for McGrath's demotion on the basis of miles on the clock as he has been worked overtime for club and country, while Healy has been making his way back from a bad hamstring injury.

There is an explosive element to both men that could assist Ireland's chase for victory and points with McGrath dropping to the bench.

IRELAND (Probable): R Kearney; T Bowe, J Payne, R Henshaw, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, M Ross, D Toner, P O'Connell (capt), P O'Mahony, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

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