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Ireland v Samoa: Fitzgerald’s fighting to fill full-back role

By Niall Crozier

Luke Fitzgerald makes no bones about where he hopes to be when Ireland line out against the All Blacks on Saturday — wearing the green number 15 jersey.

“Hopefully I’ve put my name in the hat for next week,” the 23-year-old said after Saturday afternoon’s hard-earned 20-10 Irish victory over Samoa.

Leinster Lion Fitzgerald, now fully recovered from the left knee injury he suffered a year ago against Australia forcing him to miss so much of last season, revealed he prefers full-back to wing.

“I love it there. I feel I can get more involvement in the game and I think there’s a bit more space there,” he said.

And he wants a dry day to facilitate Ireland’s hopes of moving the ball and using the pace they have in their back three.

“Please, dry weather!” he said.

“It (the Samoa game) was difficult, particularly given the weather conditions. They (Samoa) are a very physical outfit as well so there was always going to be slow ball in those conditions — messy, which is frustrating for us.

“We have had to adapt. You can’t play fancy rugby in those conditions, you just can’t do it.

“And you’ve got to give opposition teams respect. Defences nowadays are so good in that you couldn’t be throwing the ball about out there. It’s just not the right thing to do; it’s not clever.

“We got the win at the end of the day and at times we did play clever rugby.

“They put a lot of pressure on us at times and I think we dealt with that quite well so there’s a lot of positives to take out of the game.

“We’re well capable of doing the expansive stuff, but I think you have to be clever.”

As for the All Blacks he said: “I think you always have to go up a notch against them. They’ve been the best team for ages now.”

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