News in Brief
Fitzgerald injury blow for Ireland
November 16, 2009
Ireland and Lions international Luke Fitzgerald is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a serious knee injury
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- Luke Fitzgerald has been ruled out of Ireland's remaining autumn fixtures and their Six Nations Grand Slam defence after sustaining a serious knee injury.
The 22-year-old Leinster winger, who also toured with the British & Irish Lions in the summer, will undergo surgery tomorrow after incurring ligament damage to his left knee during the second half of Sunday's 20-20 draw with Australia at Croke Park.
An Irish Rugby Football Union statement read, "Luke suffered a significant injury in an awkward collision and was replaced against Australia. Following medical review and scans of his left knee, it has been confirmed that Fitzgerald sustained a ruptured lateral collateral ligament that will require surgical repair and intensive post-operative rehabilitation. He is scheduled for surgery at the Sports Surgery Clinic on tomorrow, with a projected recovery period of 4-6 months."
- Springboks winger Bryan Habana faces a suspension after being cited for allegedly kicking an opponent during South Africa's 20-13 defeat to France on Friday night.
The 26-year-old will face an International Rugby Board judicial hearing on Wednesday, which will be chaired by the judicial officer for the match Lorne Crerar. Should Habana be found guilty it could bring an early end to his autumn international campaign with the Springboks due to play Italy this weekend before completing their tour against Ireland in Dublin.
- Simon Shaw is in contention for England's final autumn Test against New Zealand after being recalled to the squad by manager Martin Johnson.
The 36-year-old Lions lock and Bath prop David Flatman both linked up with England at their Pennyhill Park base on Monday as preparations begin for Saturday's All Blacks showdown.
Shaw missed England's first two Investec Challenge Tests, against Australia and Argentina, as he completed his comeback from the foot injury which forced him to miss the start of the season. But after proving his fitness in Wasps' Anglo-Welsh Cup victories over the last two weekends, Shaw is now in line to feature for England against New Zealand.
Flatman trained with the squad last week and he is back involved as injury cover for Tim Payne in the loose-head prop position. Wasps winger Paul Sackey has also been called up from the Saxons squad following David Strettle's failure to recover from a rib injury. Sackey has scored 11 tries in 22 Test appearances but has not played for England since breaking a leg in the Six Nations defeat by Ireland in March.
- Tom Shanklin has been ruled out of Wales' game with Argentina on Saturday after fracturing a bone in his nose.
The Cardiff Blues centre was injured after clashing with team-mate Gethin Jenkins 49 minutes into the 17-13 victory against Samoa on Friday night. Shanklin is expected to be fit for Wales' final autumn appointment against Australia on November 28.
Jonathan Davies replaced Shanklin against Samoa and the Scarlets centre would be favourite to start against the Pumas this weekend. Ospreys centre Andrew Bishop has been called into the Wales training camp as cover.
- Reds rookie Luke Morahan will join the Australia squad for the last stage of the grand slam tour of the UK as backline cover following Stirling Mortlock's earlier withdrawal due to injury.
An Australian Sevens representative, Morahan made his debut for the Reds this year but a shoulder reconstruction limited his appearances. Morahan will fly out of Brisbane tonight to link with the Wallabies squad in Edinburgh.
His surprise arrival will provide the Wallabies with additional injury cover as they prepare to close their tour with three games in a week. A Test against Scotland at Murrayfield this Saturday night will be followed by a midweek game against Cardiff Blues and the tour finale - a Test against Wales - the following Saturday at Millennium Stadium.
- Scotland new boy Alex Grove has thanked team-mate Graeme Morrison for ensuring his Test debut went smoothly.
"He didn't ever make me feel exposed and was constantly talking to me in defence and attack," said Grove after helping Scotland to a 23-10 victory at Murrayfield. "As a first cap, that's what you need, that reassurance on your inside that he's got your shoulder in defence. And, for the full 80, he was talking to me and jibbering in my ear."
And despite receiving praise for his performance, Grove insists Robinson has given him no indication whether he will keep his place when the team is named this week. "He's given me some positive feedback already," Grove said. "Whether it's enough to hold my place, I don't know - I'll have to wait and see."
- New Zealand's Stephen Donald admits his immediate future probably lies at insisde centre after being overtaken by Mike Delany in the fly-half ranks.
Donald played his 18th test in the All Blacks' 20-6 win over Italy in Milan on Saturday, replacing Delany in the final 15 minutes for his ninth cap from the reserves bench. He started five Tests at No.10 in 2009 in Dan Carter's injury-enforced absence but just as he looked poised to retain his spot as backup pivot on this tour, Delany forced his way into contention.
"They've talked to me that down the track it'd be great if I could keep honing my skills, and the little differences required at 12," Donald said. "I'm doing little bits and pieces to improve the things I need to do at 12. Moving forward if [Delany] is there at the Chiefs, who knows, I could end up playing a bit of time there.
"It's certainly a bit different than 10 so I'll have to spend some time in the saddle and learn it a bit. It's an enjoyable role because you've got a bit more time and you're one further out. I'm probably pretty suited to it. If you're on the park you'll play anywhere, it's something I don't mind."