Friday 20 July 2018

'I left the place nearly in tears' - Luke Fitzgerald reveals how he was 'rinsed' by Joe Schmidt during the World Cup

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Leinster, Ireland and Lions star Luke Fitzgerald how being given a dressing down from Joe Schmidt in front of opposition players almost led to an incident at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Fitzgerald has previously spoken about how he approached the Kiwi before the quarter-final defeat to Argentina to put forward his case to start against the Pumas.

As it turned out, Fitzgerald would replace the injured Tommy Bowe after 13 minutes and go on to score a try and setup a Jordi Murphy touchdown to get Ireland back into a game that they ultimately lost.

Speaking on this week's episode of The Left Wing, which included a guest appearance from former Leinster teammate Ian Madigan, Fitzgerald revealed that he had a run-in with Schmidt in the week heading up to the victory over Italy.

He admits that he suffered a meltdown after Schmidt rebuked him following a clean linebreak.

"A few things didn't go right for me. I remember getting absolutely rinsed by Joe in a session. We were training against Harlequins and I'd never been so embarrassed," he said.

"He just started abusing me.

"It started off... I went clean through on a linebreak and he just didn't like the line I took but I went clean through and I was like, 'Is he giving out to me?'

"There was a few in a row and I just fell apart. He started giving out to me in front of both teams. Whatever about giving out to me in front of the Irish lads. I've never been so embarrassed, I completely fell apart. Dropped a few clean ones, didn't make it in to the team for the weekend.

"I left the place nearly in tears. I didn't know whether to box him or... I just fell apart.

"Off the back of that, I didn't get picked for one of the matches. It might have been the Italian week.

"I was unbelievably upset about it.

"I just remember thinking, 'I better get away quickly before I say something that I'll really regret'. I went and had a coffee and calmed myself down."

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Subscribe to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's Rugby podcast, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.

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