Fitzgerald’s international relief

Guinness PRO12 Editor

5 Nov 2010

lukeFitzgerald

Leinster winger Luke Fitzgerald has expressed his relief to be back on the rugby field ahead of his return to International action with Ireland this weekend.

The 23-year-old lines-up against South Africa at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday in his first International appearance in a year after damaging the lateral collateral ligament of his left knee during the 20-20 draw with Australia last November.

The injury was a huge blow to the talented Irish back and Fitzgerald was forced to re-evaluate life away from the game during his time out.

"When I was told how significant the injury was there were tears shed," he said.

"I thought it might be the end.

“My family gathered around me and I had to move back home for a few months.

It's certainly changed the way I look at the game. You realise how fickle sport can be."

Fitzgerald is joined by six of his province team-mates in the starting line-up for Ireland this weekend, in a side that includes only one non-Irish based player, the Ospreys’ Tommy Bowe.

Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster); J Sexton (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), T Buckley (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), S Ferris (Ulster), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster). Subs: S Cronin (Connacht), T Court (Ulster), D Ryan (Munster), D Leamy (Munster), P Stringer (Munster), R O'Gara (Munster), K Earls (Munster).

South Africa: G Aplon; B Basson, Z Kirchner, J de Villiers/P Lambie, B Habana; M Steyn, R Pienaar; T Mtawarira, B du Plessis, J du Plessis, B Botha, V Matfield, D Stegmann, J Smith, P Spies. Subs: C Ralepelle, CJ van der Linde, F van der Merwe, W Alberts/K Daniel, F Hougaard, A Jacobs, P Lambie/L Mvovo.