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Munster speedster Fitzgerald desperate to seize his chance against Ulster

The winger is set to be involved in the Pro14 inter-pro tomorrow.

Fitzgerald in action against the Kings.
Fitzgerald in action against the Kings.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

JOHANN VAN GRAAN intends on drafting in several players for tomorrow’s clash with Ulster and one of those hoping to make the most of the chance is promising back three prospect Stephen Fitzgerald.

His favourite position is fullback but the Limerick speedster is also an accomplished winger and would happily play in any slot that van Graan thinks he is good enough for.

“I’ll happily play on the wing if he selects me, I don’t mind but I’ve always played fullback and I feel that’s where I play my best rugby but if Johann selected me to play prop I’d have no problem playing there,” he said.

“Obviously the strength in depth we have in the back three is huge. In my position you have Zeebs and Andrew (Conway) and then JJ (Hanrahan), he has been playing there.

“Opportunities have been a bit limited playing there but obviously when I do get the chance I need to take it with both hands and make the most of it.

“After the disappointment of last week all the squad want to do is to bounce back and there’s no better way to do it than with an inter-pro, especially against Ulster,” said the former Ireland U20 international, who made his senior Munster competitive debut away to Ospreys in September 2015.

He crowned that debut with a try but injuries have taken a toll and he didn’t feature last season. If involved, Saturday’s Pro14 clash against Ulster at Thomond Park will be his fifth appearance of the season and he’s keen to make the most of it.

“I’ve been knocking on the door but I seem to be getting a few opportunities now and I know with Zeebs leaving and I know Mike (Haley) is coming in but all I can do is just keep playing as well as I can and then every time Johann gives you the chance I take it.

Stephen Fitzgerald Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“I do want to be the starting full back for Munster and I have no problem saying that. That is my goal and ambition for the next few years and hopefully that happens.”

The former Limerick minor hurler, who recently signed a one-year extension to his development contract, has plenty of role models in Munster but none more so than Keith Earls.

“I remember when I was growing up in Limerick he was the big thing coming through. I remember watching him in the Senior Cup final playing for Munchins and he won that match himself he was that good.

“He’s a great help. It might be the small things out on the pitch, the way I’m closing or the way I’m coming on to the ball or stepping and stuff like that, the small things that he’s been incredible helping me with.

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“And any time somebody like him wants to give me advice I’d take it with open arms.

“Over the past two years he’s changed what he’s done himself but I think he’s one of the best players in the world and I’m not just saying it because he’s from Munster I love watching him play. Every time he gets the ball he looks like he can make something happen and that’s what I want,” added Fitzgerald.

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