Sunday 16 December 2018

'I was really pissed off. I never really forgave him' - Luke Fitzgerald on the worst moment of his career

20 August 2011; A dejected Luke Fitzgerald, Ireland, leaves the pitch after the game. Rugby World Cup Warm-up game, Ireland v France, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
20 August 2011; A dejected Luke Fitzgerald, Ireland, leaves the pitch after the game. Rugby World Cup Warm-up game, Ireland v France, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Luke Fitzgerald enjoyed a rollercoaster career filled with trophies and tough injuries but it is two World Cups that stick out for him - as his best and worst moment in rugby.

The former Leinster and Ireland back won a Grand Slam, another Six Nations title and three Heineken Cups during a 10-season career, which was brought to an end after Fitzgerald suffered a neck injury against Connacht in the 2016 PRO 14 final.

However, despite all his success, Fitzgerald never really thrived at a World Cup, missing out on selection in 2007 and 2011 before being confined to cameo appearances off the bench in 2015.

In fact, it was his eye-catching contribution in the quarter-final against Argentina in 2015 that Fitzgerald picked out as his career highlight in a Q&A with Des Berry in The Herald today.

It was Fitzgerald's first World Cup, and he was delighted to prove head coach Joe Schmidt wrong with a big display off the bench.

Conversely, Fitzgerald tells Berry that Declan Kidney informing him that he wouldn't be part of his squad travelling to New Zealand for the 2011 tournament was the low point in his career.

"Declan Kidney telling me in 2011 that I wasn't going to make the World Cup," Fitzgerald said.

"That really, really pissed me off. I never really forgave him for it. He was a nice fella but from a rugby perspective, I hated him."

Read Luke Fitzgerald's full Q&A in today's Herald.

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