Sunday 19 November 2017

The Left Wing - Luke Fitzgerald wants Sexton and Itoje to start this week and laments Cian Healy's squad omission

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Leinster, Ireland and Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald believes Warren Gatland should make a number of changes to his matchday 23 for this week's second Test but that doesn't mean a recall for Tour captain Sam Warburton.

Speaking on today's episode of The Left Wing, Fitzgerald said he thought Owen Farrell "looked like a guy who hadn't played rugby at 10 at international level for two seasons" and he would start Johnny Sexton at flyhaf.

Media reports are suggesting that Warburton will replace Munster's Peter O'Mahony in the back row but Fitzgerald would prefer to see another Welshman come in or for O'Mahony to stay put.

"I'm really surprised, I just don't see what Warburton brings. I'd have (Justin) Tipuric in ahead of him," he said.

Maro Itoje should come into the second row and Courtney Lawes should be upgraded to the bench with Alun Wyn Jones dropping out of the 23 after a 'very poor' showing on Saturday, according to Fitzgerald.

He also believes that Warren Gatland will regret not including Cian Healy in his squad and expects fellow Leinster loosehead to be drafted into the starting XV.

#WATCH The Left Wing is live at 1pm with Luke Fitzgerald on Gatland's Cian Healy mistake and Peyper's poor refereeing

Posted by Independent Sport on Monday, June 26, 2017

"I just feel that it was a mistake not to bring Cian Healy on this tour. I thought Mako Vunipola had no effect on the game," he added.

I think Jack adds more in scrummaging, is a more accurate tackler and is better at communicating around the pitch.

"Cian Healy has been a guy that has been so dynamic all year at scrum time.

"I just feel that (Joe) Marler is someone that's never going to get anywhere near the team.

"Cian Healy definitely could have if he had a few games at the start of the tour. It was disappointing that he has over in Japan for the whole thing.

"I think he'd be a nice guy to bring in at this stage of the tour."

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