Irish Rugby
Fitzgerald contract talks break down
ESPN Staff
June 13, 2012
Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald takes on the Emerging Springboks' defence, Emerging Springboks v British & Irish Lions, Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa, June 23, 2009
Luke Fitzgerald back in his British & Irish Lions days in 2009 © Getty Images
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Leinster are set to offer Luke Fitzgerald a non-international contract after negotiations between his agent and the Ireland Rugby Football Union broke down.

Fitzgerald's current deal expires on June 30 after which point he will become a free agent. He is reportedly attracting interest from France and England but Leinster are hopeful that he will remain in Dublin despite the lack of a central contract.

Fitzgerald has endured an injury plagued 12 months and Leinster have revealed that he is not expected to be fully fit until 2013. Despite this, the club have tabled an offer to the winger - according to manager Guy Easterby - with Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson taking over the negotiations from the IRFU.

"His contract is up on the June 30," Dawson told the Irish Independent. "I understand that the operation went very well and the doctors are pleased. He has a 26- to 32-week rehab period and we have a duty of care to make sure that goes right. Hopefully he will be working with us under our tutelage and getting back out on the pitch and ready for action again.

"Luke has been with us from the age of 18 . . . we would hope that he would be with us for a lot longer. He has been a fantastic player, will be a fantastic player and he's very, very popular with the crowd. He has served us very well and we're acutely aware of that.

"We want to make sure we can nurse him through this injury, get him back on the pitch and hopefully get him back playing for Leinster and Ireland in early 2013. We are in discussion with his agent Fintan Drury and I'd be disappointed if it wasn't sorted out sooner rather than later."

Dawson also revealed to the newspaper that Leinster are seeking to recruit a non-Irish qualified lock ahead of next season.

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