Belfast Telegraph

Fitzgerald’s return set to boost Leinster’s final push

By Hugh Farrelly

Leinster are optimistic that Jonathan Sexton and Luke Fitzgerald will be fit to take on Montpellier at the RDS this weekend when a win will secure the champions a home Heineken Cup quarter-final.

Sexton rolled his ankle in the 23-16 win over Glasgow last Sunday but forwards coach Jono Gibbes said the medics were positive about his availability, as they were on Luke Fitzgerald who missed the trip to Firhill with a combination of glute/neck strain.

Hooker Richardt Strauss, flanker Kevin McLaughlin and second-row Steven Sykes are all also expected to be available.

While Gibbes said the squad focus is centred on the Montpellier challenge, he backed younger players such as second row Devin Toner and back-row Rhys Ruddock to step up to the mark if they earn inclusion in Ireland's Six Nations squad today.

“Have they done enough? Personally, I think that they are progressing really well and are ready to wear a green shirt if they get the opportunity,” said Gibbes.

“I know we've been really happy with their work they have put in, and the improvements they are trying to bring. We can see that day-to-day.”

Flanker Shane Jennings is another player hoping to be named today, having been part of the World Cup squad in New Zealand, and believes the Six Nations backdrop provides an extra incentive against Montpellier.

“If people aren't picked they always want to prove someone wrong so that will motivate them for the weekend. If they are, they obviously want to end on a high before they go into the Six Nations camp,” said Jennings, who added that having three provinces going well in Europe can only be good for the national side.

“It’s brilliant. Competition is going to bring everyone on so ... Ulster played a great game on Friday night that we all witnessed, Munster are as strong as ever. It's going to be very exciting times in the coming weeks.”

Belfast Telegraph

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