Schmidt joy as Leinster foil Munster move for Fitzgerald
LEINSTER have beaten off competition from Munster to tie Luke Fitzgerald to a new two-year contract, taking him up to the end of the 2014/'15 season.
The 25-year-old (below) had been a target for Munster, who used the enticement of a place in the centre to try and snare their man, but Leinster have won the battle to keep him, much to coach Joe Schmidt's delight.
"At just 25, Luke's best years are ahead of him and, hopefully, he'll be back better than ever early next season," said Schmidt.
Fitzgerald has played 108 times for the province and scored 26 tries. He has 26 Ireland caps and was a member of the 2009 Lions tour to South Africa.
The winger was hugely unfortunate to tear his cruciate ligament during Ireland's loss to Italy in the Six Nations and will not feature until next season after recently undergoing surgery.
"I'm looking forward to beginning my rehab and getting back in a blue shirt next season," said Fitzgerald.
Meanwhile, the IRFU are in receipt of the written judgment regarding Brian O'Driscoll's three-week suspension for stamping in the Six Nations clash against Italy, but have yet to decide on whether or not they will be appealing.
A decision will be taken tomorrow morning after the IRFU's legal representation have dissected the judgment.