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Cullen Hails D’Arcy’s ‘Phenomenal Record’ At Leinster

Cullen Hails D’Arcy’s ‘Phenomenal Record’ At Leinster

Leinster forwards coach Leo Cullen has said that the retirement of Gordon D’Arcy after this year’s Rugby World Cup will mark an ‘end of an era’ for the province.

Speaking to the media in Leinster HQ this week, Leo Cullen said of Gordon D’Arcy’s decision to retire: “It’s a real end of an era. He has a phenomenal record playing with Leinster – the most capped player by quite a distance, his durability and the class that he’s shown season after season after season.”

Cullen also said that the Wexford man’s retirement, along with Shane Jennings’ departure at the end of the season, would be a ‘massive loss’, but that some of the younger squad members would now have the opportunity to step up into those leadership roles.

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“Himself and Shane Jennings would’ve been two of the leaders in the group over the last number of years,” Cullen said, paying tribute to his former team-mates.

“It’s very hard to replace a player of that quality and someone who has built up that much experience as well. There’s the opportunity for young guys coming through to stake a claim for that position. But it’s going to be very hard to replace someone of Darce’s quality.”

Meanwhile, ahead of Leinster’s final home game of the 2014/15 season against Benetton Treviso, it has been confirmed that Luke Fitzgerald will sit out the rest of the campaign.

Fitzgerald had an operation on a shoulder injury this past weekend, joining the likes of Rhys Ruddock (arm) and Martin Moore and Sean Cronin (both shoulder) in undergoing surgery.

The 27-year-old winger helped Ireland retain the RBS 6 Nations title last month, and Cullen gave a positive response when asked about whether the surgery and recovery period would hamper Fitzgerald’s hopes of featuring at the Rugby World Cup.

“Basically it’s a repair to Luke’s labrum, he suffered a bit of damage there. He only got it done at the weekend so it’s a bit early to say,” he explained.

“We’ll find out more as the week goes on in terms of how long it might be. He will certainly be out for the next two weeks. I don’t think it’s a World Cup issue.”

A further squad update from head coach Matt O’Connor explained that Fitzgerald had surgery on his left shoulder and that he will be sidelined for up to 12 weeks.

Sean O’Brien, Mike McCarthy and Jimmy Gopperth all resumed training today having sat out yesterday’s session with minor knocks and are expected to be fit for Friday’s game.

Back rower Ruddock returned to the training pitch this week as he steps up his recovery. However, he is not in consideration for either of the two games over the next two weekends.