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Leinster's Luke Fitzgerald receives the Heineken Man of the Match award from Pat Maher of Heineken.
Leinster's Luke Fitzgerald receives the Heineken Man of the Match award from Pat Maher of Heineken.

Man of the Match Fitzgerald praises Leinster depth

Meanwhile, Joe Schmidt admitted his side “still need a miracle” if they are to progress to the next round of the Heineken Cup.
Jan 12th 2013, 8:59 PM 12,238 12

MAN OF THE Match Luke Fitzgerald said he was glad to be back following a long injury, and praised Leinster’s squad “depth” following their 33-14 victory over the Scarlets at the RDS in the Heineken Cup this evening.

The winger played a starring role in his side’s comprehensive victory, and admitted the game was an enjoyable experience.

“It was fantastic fun,” he told Sky Sports. “I probably got too much ball for my second game back – it was a couple more touches than I usually get, but fingers crossed it keeps going that way.”

The star only came back from a long-term injury for the first time in the RaboDirect PRO12 game against Edinburgh last week, and he expressed relief at being back, describing how it was “very emotional” for him going onto the field, and adding that his return to fitness was “a testament to the medical staff”.

He also said that Leinster have benefited in recent weeks from having more players available.

“It’s nice to have experience and there’s great depth [in the squad].

“Hopefully we can spur the guys on and produce a good performance next week against Exeter.”

Asked if he and his colleagues still believed the side could progress to the next round of the Heineken Cup, Fitzgerald said:

“We have to – unfortunately, we’re in that position.”

In addition, Leinster coach Joe Schmidt paid tribute to Fitzgerald and Rob Kearney, who also returned from injury recently.

“They’re really good guys to have in the environment. They’re humble men and they slotted in seamlessly,” he said.

Asked about Leinster’s chances next week against Exeter, Schmidt added:

“We still need a miracle. We need to try to get a result against an Exeter side that are very tough to beat away from home.

“They’re well coached and have a very strong group.

“Starting tonight, we need to make sure our recovery is good and go play with a bit of ambition.”

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Paul Fennessy


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