Luke Fitzgerald

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Luke Fitzgerald
Luke Fitzgerald 2015 RWC.jpg
Fitzgerald (with Keith Earls in the foreground) playing for Ireland during the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Full name Luke Matthew Fitzgerald
Date of birth (1987-09-13) 13 September 1987 (age 30)
Place of birth County Wicklow, Ireland
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 92 kg (14 st 7 lb)
School Blackrock College
University University College Dublin
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing, Centre, Fullback
Current team Leinster
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2006–2016 Leinster 141 (160)
Correct as of 5 September 2015
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2006–
2006–2016
2009
Ireland Wolfhounds
Ireland
British and Irish Lions
3
34
1
(5)
(20)
(0)
Correct as of 18 October 2015

Luke Matthew Fitzgerald (born 13 September 1987) is a former rugby union player. He played at winger or fullback for Leinster. He retired in June 2016. Having previously studied at Blackrock College he won two Leinster Schools Senior Cups, in 2004 and 2006. He won his first cap for Ireland in November 2006. Fitzgerald has earned the nickname "Pivot" from Leinster and Irish rugby fans due to his exciting runs and sidesteps from broken play.[1]

On 28 June 2016, Fitzgerald announced his retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect.[2] He had suffered a neck injury in the 2016 Pro12 Final and had been advised to retire on medical grounds.[3][4]

Family and personal life

An Irish speaker, Fitzgerald has a particular interest in the language.[1] He played hurling at underage level.[1] In Gaelic football, he is a fan of the Dublin senior football team. He played Gaelic Football while he was growing up at Naomh Olafs GAA Club.[5] Fitzgerald's father Des also played international rugby for Ireland, earning 34 caps at prop between 1984 and 1992.

Schools rugby

Fitzgerald played for the Blackrock College Senior Cup Team from 2004 to 2006, winning two Leinster Senior Cup Medals, in 2004 and 2006. He also won a Leinster Junior Cup Medal in 2003, beating Gonzaga College in the final.

He was the 2005 Irish Examiner Young Rugby Player of the Year.

After leaving school, Fitzgerald joined renowned south Dublin club Blackrock College RFC, a natural transition from schools to club rugby.

Representative rugby

Fitzgerald played four matches for the Leinster Schools' Representative team. In his fifth year Fitzgerald played three games for the Irish Schools team. While in his final year he played three matches for the Leinster Under 19's, all as captain. He also won the Irish Examiner Young Player of the Year for the 2005/06 season.

Professional rugby

Provincial

After leaving school Fitzgerald has become a regular in the Leinster Magners League squad. He scored his first try for the province against Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup, having come on as a substitute in a game Leinster ultimately lost 25–24. Fitzgerald was part of the Leinster team who beat Leicester Tigers (19–16) to win the 2008–09 Heineken Cup.

International

In October 2006 he was named in the Ireland squad for the Autumn series of internationals. After a strong performance against the 'Mid Week Wallabies" playing for Ireland A he won his first cap on 26 November 2006 against the Pacific Islands.[6] In doing so, he became the youngest player to play for Ireland in 29 years. He also became the 999th player to be capped for Ireland.[7]

After much public demand Fitzgerald was finally given a chance in the centre during Ireland's recent match with the Barbarians. He had a fine game putting in a lot of tackles, notably on Lesley Vainikolo. He was due to earn a second cap in the centre against the All Blacks. His centre partner would have been Brian O'Driscoll. He was forced to withdraw from this match due to an ankle injury. He was a member of the victorious Ireland team that won the 2009 Six Nations Championship and Grand Slam where he played on the wing and started every game.[8]

On 21 April 2009, Fitzgerald was named as a member of the British and Irish Lions for the 2009 tour to South Africa and made his test debut on 27 June against South Africa,[9] during which he was eye-gouged by Schalk Burger. Burger was yellow-carded for the incident, and was subsequently banned for eight weeks for "making contact with the face in the eye area." He was however cleared of gouging, as his action was found to be "reckless" but not intentional.[10][11][12] Fitzgerald believes Burger should have been sent off for gouging his eyes, "I went into the ruck, got cleaned out and felt a hand going for my eyes,"Given the seriousness of the allegations... you would have to say it was probably a red card." [13]

In November 2009, Fitzgerald was injured in Ireland's game against Australia, forcing him out for the rest of the season. He returned from injury at the beginning of the 2010-11 season to start at fullback for Leinster in their first preseason match against London Wasps Rugby Club. [14]

In March 2015, Fitzgerald was named in the starting team for Ireland in the last game of the 2015 Six Nations Championship away to Scotland, his first start since a World Cup warm-up game against France in a 2011 and first game since the defeat to New Zealand in November 2013.[15]

References

  1. ^ a b c A little bit of Fitzy is all you need
  2. ^ "Luke Fitzgerald announces retirement from rugby". RTE Sport. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "Luke Fitzgerald - Unrivalled talent and courage derailed by endless injuries". Irish Independent. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  4. ^ "Luke Fitzgerald announces his retirement from rugby at 28". The 42. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Future's in good hands[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Ireland bid Lansdowne farewell in styleRTÉ News article, 26 November 2006.
  7. ^ final player ever to be capped for Ireland Archived 21 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine.— Irish Rugby article.
  8. ^ Roberts, Gareth (22 March 2009). "2009 Six Nations". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  9. ^ "British & Irish Lions tour squad announced". The British and Irish Lions official website. 21 April 2009. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  10. ^ "Rugby: Burger cleared of eye-gouging accusation – Sport – NZ Herald News". The New Zealand Herald. 3 July 2009. Archived from the original on 31 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  11. ^ Chillies Website Architecs. "OFM Sport | Schalk Burger cleared of eye-gouging". Archived from the original on 31 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  12. ^ Mairs, Gavin (29 June 2009). "Lions 2009: Schalk Burger banned for eight weeks for gouging, Bakkies Botha receives two-week ban". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  13. ^ Austin, Simon (27 June 2009). "Burger 'gouge' angers Fitzgerald". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  14. ^ "Luke Fitzgerald". The Irish Times. 
  15. ^ "Luke Fitzgerald comes in from the wilderness as Simon Zebo misses out on matchday 23". Irish Independent. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 

External links

  • Leinster profile
  • IRFU profile
  • Lions profile
  • ESPNscrum profile
  • The Irish Times - Luke Fitzgerald interview
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