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Ireland v France Six Nations: Bring back Trimble to rattle Les Bleus, roars Fitzgerald

By Jonathan Bradley

With Ireland facing a crunch test in their Six Nations campaign against France on Saturday (4.50pm kick-off), former Ireland winger Luke Fitzgerald believes Joe Schmidt will back Andrew Trimble to unlock Les Bleus in Dublin.

The Ulster skipper hasn't played for a month due to a groin injury but Fitzgerald, who had to retire last summer due to a neck problem, thinks the Coleraine man has enough credit in the bank with Schmidt to work his way straight back into a starting berth.

"Trimble has played brilliantly for Joe in the past and there'll be no issues coming back in," said the 2009 Lion.

"Andrew is a very fit guy. He's a very good athlete, and he's a guy Joe likes too."

Trimble's expected return to the side comes despite his provincial team-mate Craig Gilroy's hat-trick against Italy last time out.

Schmidt has hardly gone overboard in his praise of that performance, with Fitzgerald thinking the younger wing still has some way to go to impress his long-time Leinster and Ireland boss.

"Joe looks at the whole package," he said. "It's the bits that are more technical.

"Everything comes into play with him.

"It's not just who dotted down and that's the way it should be.

"I did think Craig looked very good in Rome but I still think there's a bit of growth there in terms of defensive stuff.

"I think that's an area he needs to improve, certainly his positioning can be poor and that can get exposed at this level.

"That's why I'd say Joe wants to temper that enthusiasm from the three tries.

"Trimble maybe fits Joe's eye a bit better. He's a bit more physical."

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