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O'Driscoll tips Fitz to shine


Brian O'Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll insists Luke Fitzgerald has the skills required to make a successful move to full-back.

Fitzgerald has been chosen to fill the position for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash against Italy in the injury-enforced absence of Rob Kearney and Geordan Murphy. The 23-year-old is keen to test himself in the number 15 jersey but his form has been inconsistent since returning from a knee problem sustained in November.

"When Luke's really booming with confidence he's a very, very dangerous player," said Lions centre O'Driscoll. "Both as an attacking and strategic player, he can mix his game well at full-back."

He added: "Like anyone who hasn't played a huge amount of rugby over the last couple of months, you just encourage him to do the simple things well and not try to do the amazing things.

"That will eventually come as the game unfolds, but early on it's about starting well and doing what he's done, both provincially and internationally.

"He knows himself what's expected of him and I don't envisage any issues.

"But he's certainly a pleasure to play with from an attacking point of view, because he has that innate ability to break tackles and offload.

"Whenever you can get a second touch, having given him a pass, it gives yourself an opportunity or it gives the rest of the team an opportunity to continue an attacking play."

O'Driscoll is one of three players to have signed new contracts with the IRFU. He is joined by Leinster team-mates Jamie Heaslip and Jonathan Sexton in agreeing new deals that will see their careers continue in Dublin.

The new terms suggest O'Driscoll, 32, will continue playing Test rugby after this year's World Cup and it raises the possibility that the decorated centre could bow out of rugby during the 2013 Lions tour to Australia.

PA Media