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Wednesday 20 August 2014

McFadden, Fitzgerald return for crucial Treviso tie

Conor George

Published 15/02/2013 | 04:00

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Fergus McFadden

FERGUS McFADDEN and Luke Fitzgerald will both feature for Leinster in tomorrow night's game against Treviso at the RDS (5.0).

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The pair had been with Ireland for the past number of weeks. Neither was included in the match-day squad of 23 against England but they were kept with the squad as auxiliary players in case of any late injury.

McFadden actually trained with Ireland yesterday but Leinster assistant coach Jonno Gibbes confirmed both are available and likely to see action.

"We have a number of players released from the Ireland camp and the idea is for them to get some game time," Gibbes said. "Those two lads will be in the mix. Joe Schmidt and Declan Kidney have liaised so this is a good opportunity to bring these lads back in, but they're not the only lads who will be back in the side.

"It's good to have the likes of Eoin O'Malley and Dave Kearney back too. It's been a long road back, for Eoin especially. They're excited about being back and we'll see how they shape up in training before making a selection for the game."

Gibbes, who had been working under the mistaken but understandable belief that Cian Healy would be available for Leinster this weekend, did concede that the prop forward was probably hyped up for the England game and that this led to his stamp on Dan Cole.

Incidents

"I didn't see all the incidents but I think he was geed up because it was England and he might not have channelled it in the right way," said Gibbes.

"As tight forwards, you've got to go in ready for battle and make sure you are enforcing your presence. Unfortunately, maybe he didn't quite channel it in the right way."

That Healy won't now – pending a probable appeal – be able to play until March 10 will make life very difficult for his stablemates in training, according to Gibbes.

"The only real negativity, I'd say, is whoever has to train with him in the next couple of weeks is probably going to get some serious damage done to them in the gym or out on the field," he said.

Leinster will be seeking to build on the positives they gleaned from their game against Cardiff last weekend when they face Treviso tomorrow.

"There were a number of positives from Cardiff. The lads weren't lacking for effort and while we lacked a little polish we did some things well and can build on them.

"We are looking to continue our progress in the league and we'd like to keep pushing ourselves into the top four to give ourselves a shot at the play-offs," he added.

There is no date yet on a possible return to the side for Isa Nacewa.

"Isa knows his body and he'll make himself available when he's ready and able to contribute. So it's a wait-and-see with him," said Gibbes.

Leinster host Treviso in the RDS tomorrow evening, kick-off 5.0.

Irish Independent

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