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Almost there: Fitzgerald ready to commit future to Leinster

The Blues’ team manager, Guy Easterby, has indicated that the winger is likely to sign on with the province next week.

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

LUKE FITZGERALD IS likely to sign a new deal with Leinster next week, it was revealed today.

It had been feared that the winger, whose current contract will expire this summer, could not agree terms on a new IRFU contract and would instead seek a move abroad.

Coach, Joe Schmidt, last week indicated that he had asked Fitzgerald to shelve the negotiations until they had navigated past the Cardiff Blues in Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final.

Today, speaking at Leinster’s open training session at the RDS, team manager Guy Easterby reiterated Schmidt’s point, saying: “Last week was a week when we wouldn’t revisit that at all.”

But the former Ireland scrum-half added that the Lions tourist is now likely to rubber-stamp his future well before the team’s semi-final trip to Bordeaux:

“Obviously we’re only in Wednesday this week, but certainly we would be hoping to have something done – certainly in the next week to 10 days.”

From being on the verge of being a certain starter for Ireland, Fitzgerald never regained his best international form after suffering a serious knee ligament injury in the November 2009 draw with Australia.

Declan Kidney persisted with the Blackrock boy during the 2011 Six Nations, selecting him at fullback in place of the injured Rob Kearney. However, a lack of confidence and form ultimately cost him a spot on the plane to New Zealand and he has not appeared for his country since.

In a recent interview on Setanta, Fitzgerald admitted he had ‘scope’ for leaving Ireland if a deal was not forthcoming. However, it now seems that his  impressive recent displays (including the line break which set up Brian O’Driscoll’s try on Saturday) have earned him some extra currency within the offices on Lansdowne Road.

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Sean Farrell

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