Tuesday 21 November 2017

WATCH: 'He's the complete package' - Luke Fitzgerald picks his player of the Six Nations

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Luke Fitzgerald believes Ireland players and management will rue the one that got away after defeats away to Wales and Scotland cost them a tilt at the title despite ending England's dreams of back-to-back Grand Slams.

Luke Fitzgerald joined us in our studio for the final Six Nations episode of the Left Wing and looked back on his highs and lows from the campaign as well as analysing exactly how Ireland got the better of England in the Aviva.

Fitzgerald believes Ireland are still missing the presence of Paul O'Connell and a creative player in the backline outside Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray.

Ringrose could become that outlet in the future but Fitzgerald believes he needs time to develop further.

Fitzgerald had been calling for Peter O'Mahony's inclusion from the start and highlighted his part in the only try of the game.

Asked if he thinks that Jamie Heaslip, who was forced to withdraw from the game through injury, would be fazed out for younger players, Fitzgerald added: "I think it comes down to how much he wants it and how hungry he is. Knowing the guy personally, I know he will.

"Joe and Leo Cullen pick him every week because they know the areas where he has a big impact.

"He's a really important cog for this Ireland team and the Leinster team."

Fitzgerald heaped praise on "true leader" Johnny Sexton for his display on Saturday and believes he should be teamed up with Owen Farrell this summer with the Lions.

"He nailed on for 10 (with the Lions). He was outstanding. He's a big player for us and and he really delivered (against England)," he added.

England failed to create one tryscoring opportunity and Fitzgerald said that was down to Eddie Jones' men failing to deal with Ireland's intensity.

He selected Owen Farrell as his player of the tournament.

"What he's added at 12 for England, especially on days when it was drier and he was able to move the ball a bit, he was able to open up defences."

"He looks like a complete player to me."

Fitzgerald picked Robbie Henshaw as his Irish player of the tournemant.

"He's had a great season for Leinster, which has gone under the radar, but defensive impacts have been huge. He's turned into one of the big leaders in the team.

"People are saying that he's a bit of a battering ram but he does that really well. He should definitely go on the Lions tour."

His moment of the Six Nations was the match-clinching try for Elliott Daly against Wales.

Six Nations coverage on The Left Wing, in association with Aer Lingus, the official airline to the Irish rugby team.

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