Thursday 22 March 2018

Injured Fitzgerald insists people in Irish rugby are enjoying 'panic' before Six Nations


Ireland's Luke Fitzgerald. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile
Ireland's Luke Fitzgerald. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

Ruaidhri O'Connor​

Luke Fitzgerald has hit out at the negativity surrounding Irish rugby ahead of the Six Nations and says he believes some pundits are deriving enjoyment from "panic" ahead of Joe Schmidt's side's title defence.

The winger was yesterday ruled out of Ireland's campaign as a result of the medial ligament injury that he suffered in training last Friday.

It will keep him out for six-to-eight weeks and he has already vowed to make an impact on Leinster's run-in and play his part on the three-Test tour of South Africa on his return.

Poor provincial performances, the now declining threat of players leaving for England and France and the unavailability of key players are among the reasons that optimism is low ahead of the champions' three-in-a-row bid, but Fitzgerald (pictured) believes that the negativity is being overdone.

"In a lot of ways I feel like there's always a bit of panic about things," he said of the negativity around Irish rugby on Newstalk's Off The Ball.

"Information from the camp isn't always the greatest, people are suspicious about the information that comes from the camp and I suppose people want to know (what's going on) and people inside the camp want to protect some of the information at times.

"I see things about Johnny Sexton and all this kind of stuff, all this rubbish. People asking me on the street about stuff... I think people in Irish rugby are nearly enjoying panic in terms of all of this talk of exodus and things like that.

"I'm calmer about these things, I've a bit of perspective about it and never feel like there's reason to panic about these things. Rugby's pretty cyclical. I don't feel like I'm a very unlucky guy, there's still a lot of rugby for me to play this season.

"It's a challenging period, the way the games fall is tricky but with the squad we have there's no reason to think we can't be successful."

Irish Independent

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