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Fitzgerald Ruled Out, Wallace To Start

Fitzgerald Ruled Out, Wallace To Start

Luke Fitzgerald has been forced to withdraw from the Ireland team to play New Zealand on Saturday. His place in the starting line-up will be taken by Paddy Wallace with Geordan Murphy coming onto the replacements bench.

Ireland centre Luke Fitzgerald has been withdrawn from the team to play New Zealand in Wellington this Saturday. 

Fitzgerald had been carrying an ankle injury and was named in the team on Tuesday but did not reach the expected level of recovery, leaving the Ireland management no option but to withdraw him from the team for Saturday’s game. 

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Fitzgerald’s place in the centre has been taken by Paddy Wallace, who moves up from the bench, with Geordan Murphy named amongst the replacements instead of Wallace. 

Commenting on his selection, Paddy Wallace said: “While obviously disappointed for Luke, I was delighted to get the word from Michael (Bradley) that I would be starting the game.

“You never want to benefit from somebody else’s misfortune, but playing against the All Blacks is going to be a huge challenge as they are the top team in the world and have some superb players across the park.

“You always want to test yourself against the best, so this weekend is going to be a big game,” he added.

“I have been playing a lot of my rugby in the centre for Ulster this season, so I don’t have any concerns about being able to slot into the position with Brian (O’Driscoll). 

“He has so much experience and is one the top players in the world, so hopefully it should be a smooth transition for us. 

“We have had a couple of training sessions to work on systems and patterns together, so I think we have prepared quite well.”

In further news, Ulster back rower Stephen Ferris has also been called into the squad as a precaution for Alan Quinlan, as he continues to recover from his dead leg that he picked up.

Ferris has been pulled out of the Ireland ‘A’ squad for the Churchill Cup tournament and will meet up with the rest of the senior squad in Melbourne this Sunday.