Leinster Chief Executive Micheal Dawson has confirmed that the province has taken over the contract negotiations between themselves and Irish international Luke Fitzgerald.
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Fitzgerald, who is set to miss up to six months as he recovers from major surgery is out of contract with Leinster on June 30th and has failed in recent months to agree a new deal with the IRFU which has led to speculation that the Grand Slam winner may leave Leinster when he contract came to an end.
The negotiations between Fitzgerald and the IRFU have now appeared to have stalled and Dawson, speaking at the Heineken Cup pool draw in Dublin on Tuesday afternoon confirmed that the province was now dealing directly with the player himself.
“Luke has been with us since he was 18. I think he is 24 now and we hope that he will be with us for a lot longer. His contract is up on the 30th of June. I understand his operation went very well. He has a 26-32 week recovery period and we have a duty of care to make sure that it goes right and hopefully he will be working with us to get him back playing for Leinster and Ireland in early 2013.
“Luke has been and will be a fantastic player for Leinster. He is very popular with the fans. We want Luke in our squad. We have had talks with his agent Fintan Drury and I’d be disappointed if things are not worked out sooner rather than later.”
Dawson also confirmed that Leinster would be looking to play their home pool game against French side Clermont Auvernge in the Aviva Stadium when the dates and times for the fixture become available.