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Dublin: 10°C Monday 10 May 2021

'Unfair' to put timeframe on Luke Fitzgerald comeback

The utility back had hinted that he would be back training in a fortnight, but Leinster insist they won’t rush his return.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

LUKE FITZGERALD IS indeed progressing well on his latest attempt to put his injury woes behind him, but Leinster are eager to keep the pressure off the 27-year-old Lion.

The utility back shone all too briefly for both province and country last season before once again being hampered by groin and abdominal injuries.

Fitzgerald last featured for Leinster in the win over Munster in March, but has not featured since he was unable to make the opening whistle despite being named in the squad to face Ulster in early May.

The former Blackrock star has himself said that he hopes to resume full training in two to three weeks time, but Leinster team manager Guy Easterby is adamant that staff in the eastern province are putting no such pressure on Fitzgerald.

“I think it would be unfair on us to put any sort of timeframe on it, because all it means is that we get asked the question again in two to three weeks’ time,” says Easterby.

“Absolutely he’s improving, but we haven’t got to a stage where we can say he’ll be back in 10 days or two weeks. All I know is that he’s working incredibly hard and he’s desperate to get back.”

Fitzgerald is a famously positive character, but even he is finding it challenging to maintain an upbeat outlook after being dealt so many setbacks to hold back from doing what he loves.

“He’s a professional rugby player and he hasn’t been able to play, so that’s frustrating,” adds Easterby.

“The one thing about Luke is that he’ll always work incredibly hard to get himself right and give himself the best chance. He’s adhering to his rehab programme with unbelievable vigour.  Every now and then you go through peaks and troughs, but he just wants to get back out playing. That’s what he’s good at and that’s what his passion is, so I couldn’t fault him in the way that he’s worked.

Joe Schmidt with Dave Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“The positive attitude that he’s had has remained because that’s the type of guy he is. I just think he wants to come back and contribute and we’ll really really welcome him back as well because he’s such a fantastic player.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure that happens as quickly as possible, but there’s no point in doing it if it means that he’s going to break down again. So we have to be sure that we’re getting that right and we’re getting through all the right processes to make sure that when he does come back he’ll have no re occurrence of any injury.”

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Sean Farrell

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