‘Every session he’s getting better and better’ – O’Connor impressed by fit-again Fitzgerald

MATT O’CONNOR WAS encouraged by the performance of Luke Fitzgerald in Leinster’s Pro12 victory over Connacht at the RDS on Friday.

The versatile back has had numerous injury problems in recent times, and O’Connor says simply getting Fitzgerald game time is crucial at the moment.

“The key thing is playing for Luke. What not everyone appreciates is that every session he gets better and better. After another 80 minutes, there’s a little bit of continuity to what he does in training.

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“There’s a little bit more confidence in relation to him executing the things he wants to execute. And the longer he stays fit, the better he’ll get.”

The Leinster coach also had positive words for Noel Reid, who often has to play second fiddle to first-choice counterpart Ian Madigan.

“Noel’s been very good for us. Unfortunately for him, Ian Madigan’s been playing pretty well. The way he’s been kicking goals, you’ve got to have him on the field, so Noel’s been pretty unlucky at the selection table a couple of times. But he’s still very important for the squad.”

Meanwhile, Zane Kirchner, whose last-minute try ensured the hosts’ win, delivered his “best” performance for the province, according to O’Connor.

“He gave us a real physical presence, which was going to be important at breakdown and defensively. He certainly provided us with a bit of an intimidation factor.”

The Leinster coach also confirmed that Kevin McLaughlin picked up “a bang on the shoulder,” after he was taken off during Friday’s game, and says the seriousness of the injury won’t be known until later in the week.

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